MIAMI -- Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon made the smooth transition from the spotlight in Los Angeles to life in South Florida. The reigning National League batting champion doesn't see any reason why new Miami manager Don Mattingly can't also make a successful switch.
Gordon played for Mattingly with the Dodgers from 2011-14 before being dealt to the Marlins at last year's Winter Meetings. In Miami, the speedster said the organization simply allowed him to be himself.
"There was more freedom to be myself," Gordon told MLB.com in a phone interview. "I think [Mattingly is] going to have more freedom to have his managerial style. He's going to be able to do his thing a little bit more."
Mattingly guided the Dodgers to three straight NL West titles, but he was unable to advance the storied franchise to the World Series. In Miami, his task is to groom a young squad into a contender, along with changing the culture.
"We have expectations. But they aren't as great as the Los Angeles Dodgers," said Gordon, who recently spoke with Mattingly. "To have a little less pressure on him -- I want to see how he handles that. Hopefully, it goes well. If it goes well, we are going to have a good, solid group, a solid core and an even-keel manager."
Gordon flourished in his first season in Miami, leading the National League in batting average (.333), hits (205) and stolen bases (58).
Overall, however, the Marlins struggled as a team. In an unsettling 71-91 season, they went through a managerial change -- Mike Redmond was dismissed and Dan Jennings was brought from the front office into the dugout -- plus trades of several high-profile players.
It wasn't until the final month that the team bonded together and showed flashes of what they might become. From Aug. 31 to the end of the season, Miami's 19-12 record was the third best in the NL. Only the Cubs (23-10) and Dodgers (20-13) had more wins during that stretch.
"I think the change started amongst ourselves in the clubhouse at the end of last year," Gordon said. "If [Mattingly] leads us the right way, that will be huge."
Bringing in Mattingly provides stability.
"We know who our voice is," Gordon said. "Once we get a grasp of how to handle that voice as a group, I still have to learn Don Mattingly. I don't believe that's going to be the same Don Mattingly that I had in L.A. So, I still have to get to know him and trust him. Once we do that, I think we're going to be all right."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.