Dee Strange-Gordon, 33, played at Triple-A for three different organizations in 2021, and the ten-year major league veteran put up a .248/.288/.370 line, 11 doubles, and a career-high (at any level) five home runs in 54 games and 244 plate appearances for the Chicago Cubs, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Milwaukee Brewers top affiliates.
Maikel Franco, 29, played 104 games and made 403 PAs for the Baltimore Orioles in 2021, in his eighth MLB season, hitting 22 doubles and 11 home runs for the O’s, and finishing up the year at .210/.253/.355.
Both veterans reportedly signed minor league deals with the Washington Nationals over the weekend.
Strange-Gordon, who last played in the majors in Seattle in 2020, and Franco will report to Spring Training with the Nationals, assuming the lockout ends before then, and fight for an opportunity in D.C. in 2022.
Utilityman Dee Strange-Gordon and the Washington Nationals are in agreement on a minor league contract, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN. Strange-Gordon was eligible to sign after not playing in big leagues last season. Minor league deals are allowed during the lockout.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 11, 2021
Neither player ended the 2021 campaign on a 40-Man MLB roster so they were both eligible to sign this winter in spite of the lockout, as Major League Baseball and the MLBPA try to get a new collective bargaining agreement hammered out.
Strange-Gordon played four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers who drafted him in the 4th Round in 2008, four with Miami’s Marlins, and three with the Mariners before he played for the Cincinnati Reds, Brewers, Cubs, and Bucs’ affiliates this past season.
In his last full big league season, in 2019, he posted a .275/.304/.359 line with 12 doubles, six triples, three home runs, and 22 stolen bases in 27 attempts.
Franco, who signed with the Phillies out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, played a total of six seasons in Philadelphia, putting up a combined .249/.302/.431 line with 110 doubles and 102 home runs in 656 games and 2,539 PAs between 2014-19, then put up a .278/.321/.457 line with 16 doubles and eight home runs in 60 games and 243 PAs for the Royals in 2020’s 60-game COVID campaign.
Sources: The Nationals have signed veteran third baseman Maikel Franco to a minor league contract. Comes a day after they agreed to terms with Dee Strange-Gordon on a minors deal, making use of what they can do during the lockout.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) December 12, 2021
Strange-Gordon and Franco join Alcides Escobar, Luis García, César Hernandez, Lucius Fox, and Carter Kieboom among the infielders who will compete for spots on the club’s Opening Day roster for the 2022 campaign.