Cubs Reportedly Signing Utility Man Dee Strange-Gordon to a Minor League Deal

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Cubs Reportedly Signing Utility Man Dee Strange-Gordon to a Minor League Deal

Chicago Cubs

Before you freak out, just keep in mind that we already knew Nico Hoerner was going to be out for a while with any kind of hamstring strain, and we also already knew that the Cubs have so little depth at Triple-A Iowa on the positional side that guys have been called up from the low levels of the farm system just to cover innings (for the guys who’ve been called up to the big leagues to cover for the many injuries). There was a need for a guy like Dee Strange-Gordon no matter what was going to happen with Hoerner, be it a month or two months or all the months.

That is to say, let’s not get too reactionary about this news:

To be sure, there’s obviously a relationship here between Hoerner’s injury and the timing of the signing. But it’s not quite a situation where the Cubs are panicking and grabbing Dee Strange-Gordon to make him their starting second baseman. Hoerner’s injury is going to impact the upper minors depth and 40-man situation – potentially in ways that cost the Cubs a player from the 40-man when things shake out and other injured guys return to the active roster – so there was a desperate need for another position player at Triple-A Iowa.

And if you’re Strange-Gordon, freshly a free agent again at 33, yeah, this is looking like a good spot for you to land for a chance to get back on a big league roster.

We settled? OK. Now to discuss the man, himself.

Strange-Gordon (whom you might remember simply as Dee Gordon before he went back to using his full name), had been playing at Triple-A for the Brewers before he was released a couple days ago. He would have had a contractual opt-out coming on June 1, I believe, so if he wasn’t going to be called up, the Brewers simply did him a solid by letting him go sooner than that.

At Triple-A, Strange-Gordon was hitting a very strong .333/.378/.500 (136 wRC+), but his last really meaningful big league success was probably back in 2017 with the Marlins. Thereafter, he spent a few years with the Mariners as an extreme contact, no walk, no power guy, who played all over defensively and ran the bases really well. Not a bad bench guy to have, but his struggles in 2020 were sufficiently deep that he had to sign a minor league deal with the Reds this past offseason, and then he was let go at the end of Spring Training before the Brewers picked him up.

Strange-Gordon is probably excellent Triple-A depth in an organization like the Cubs, who now have very little. Can he come up to the big leagues in a starting role and fill in at second base for Hoerner? Probably not. Would you start him over David Bote and/or Eric Sogard immediately? Not necessarily. But can he still be a good bench option in the big leagues? Yeah, sure. I mean, he can play all over, he gives you great speed off the bench, and he’s another very high-contact bat. He’s not going to be a league-average bat, but he hits righties in the 85-ish wRC+ range. That won’t kill you if you have to start him periodically, and/or if you want to bring him in to face a righty in a spot where you need contact.

That is all to say, I really like this signing, especially as far as in-season additions go. You rarely can get a veteran like Strange-Gordon in late May on a minor league deal, so this is a good move for the organization. It sucks that Hoerner got hurt. It sucks that the upper-minors aren’t replete with positional prospects on the 40-man roster. But you take the situation as it is, and you do what you can. So this is a good move.

(By the way, Strange-Gordon’s signing might explain why the Cubs pulled infielder Sergio Alcantara last night, but then reportedly decided instead to bring up outfielder Rafael Ortega. If you were originally planning to go Alcantara, and then Strange-Gordon became available, you might instead go with Ortega on the thinking that you might subsequently want to bring up Strange-Gordon. Because whichever internal guy you choose today doesn’t have minor league options left, and thus might be lost on waivers if you decided to replace him with Strange-Gordon.)

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.