As the Milwaukee Brewers were in the middle of their game on Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals, news broke that they had made an addition. As first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Brewers and middle infielder Dee Strange-Gordon had agreed to a minor league deal.
Strange-Gordon has been in the big leagues since 2011 but is best known for his 2014 and 2015 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Miami Marlins. During that two-year span, he slashed .311/.342/.398 and logged an impressive 122 stolen bases, leading the NL in that category in both seasons. Strange-Gordon also led the league in triples in 2014 and hits in 2015 while recording a cumulative OPS+ of 109.
As a result, he was named to the NL All-Star team both years, received MVP votes each season, and he also won the Silver Slugger Award in 2015 behind a .333 batting average. On top of that, Strange-Gordon was a Gold Glove winner at second base that year as well–an impressive two-year stretch, to say the least.
However, at this point in his career, he is no longer that level of player and hasn’t been for a few years. More recently, in his last three seasons with Seattle, Strange-Gordon averaged .266 at the plate with a .636 OPS and an OPS+ of 77–well below the league average of 100. In 33 games in 2020, he slashed just .200/.268/.213.
Unless Gordon is getting base hits, he has a low OBP, drawing few walks, and he doesn’t make strong contact either with his average exit velocity well — and I mean well — below average, according to Baseball Savant. With that said, although he is nearing 33 years old, he has shown that he can still swipe bases, recording 22 steals in 2019 and 30 in 2018. His sprint speed is also still considered to be very good, ranking in the 84th percentile last season.
With Orlando Arcia now in Atlanta, the Milwaukee Brewers are lacking some middle infield depth. At the big league level, Kolten Wong and Luis Urias are the every day starters with Daniel Robertson as a utility man, and in Triple-A, Mark Mathias is on the IL. Strange-Gordon has primarily been a second baseman but has experience at shortstop and centerfield as well. Since 2016, he has been a below-average defender by Baseball Savant’s Outs Above Average (OAA) metric.
As a non-roster invitee this spring with the Cincinnati Reds, Strange-Gordon was unable to find a home on their big league roster. He will now try to piece some at-bats together in Triple-A Nashville and could potentially see some time in Milwaukee if an injury occurs or if Robertson struggles.