Veteran utility player Dee Strange-Gordon has signed a minor-league deal with the Washington Nationals, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. Though Major League Baseball's owners recently locked out the players, triggering the league's first work stoppage since 1994-95, minor-league transactions are still permitted.
Strange-Gordon, who will celebrate his 34th birthday come April, did not appear in the majors last season. As a result, he was eligible to sign during the lockout despite having more than eight years of big-league service time.
Strange-Gordon has appeared in more than 1,000 career games at the big-league level. In those contests, he's amassed a .286/.319/.360 slash line (89 OPS+) with 18 home runs and 333 stolen bases. His contributions have been worth an estimated 13 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball-Reference's calculations.
The Nationals are technically the fifth team Strange-Gordon has spent time with this calendar year. He's previously joined the ranks of the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, and Pittsburgh Pirates. In 54 games at the Triple-A level, he batted .248/.288/.370 with five home runs and six stolen bases.
Strange-Gordon could theoretically compete for a bench spot with the Nationals heading into next season. As it stands, the Nationals have veterans Alcides Escobar and César Hernández slotted in up the middle, with youngsters Luis García and Lucius Fox projected to fill reserve slots. Both García and Fox have options remaining, suggesting either or both could head to the minors for additional seasoning.
As noted in the introduction, teams are still permitted to sign and trade players at the minor-league level during the lockout. They just cannot reach agreements on contracts or swaps that include players who are part of the MLB Players Association, which usually entails having played in the majors last season or being part of a 40-player roster. The transaction freeze will remain in place until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement can be ratified by both the league and the players.