Dee Strange-Gordon, the man known as “Lightning,” is ready to strike.
The speedy 33-year old could be an important veteran addition both on the field and the clubhouse for a team looking to make a run to the postseason.
It wasn’t that long ago when Strange-Gordon was terrorizing the basepaths as a second baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins.
From 2014-17 he stole 212 bases and scored 341 runs in 530 games. He was a two-time All-Star, batting .304 and leading Major League Baseball in steals in three out of four seasons. Twice he produced more than 200 hits in a season and he took the National League batting crown in 2015.
Further demonstrating his well-rounded skill set, Strange-Gordon won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award as well.
His .309 average with the Marlins remains the second-highest in franchise history.
The All-Time #Marlins Batting Average Leaders
1. Miguel Cabrera.313
2. Dee Gordon .309
3. Hanley Ramirez.300
4. Kevin Millar.296
5. Juan Pierre.295
6. Cliff Floyd.294
7. Luis Castillo .293
8. Jeff Conine/Christian Yelich .290
10. Edgar Renteria/Gary Sheffield.288 pic.twitter.com/V6QTo1QbBg
— Tyler Wilson (@KingOfBuffalo) May 20, 2021
And he was responsible for one of the truly moving moments in baseball history; homering for the Marlins in the first game following the passing of former Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez.
On this date 2 years ago, Dee Gordon hit one powerful home run in the Marlins' first AB since the death of pitcher José Fernández.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) September 26, 2018
But after moving from the NL to join the Seattle Mariners, Strange-Gordon was unable to match his peak production.
In three seasons in the Pacific Northwest, he had fewer stolen bases (55) combined than he had in his final season with the Marlins (60). In 2020 he posted career-lows in every major batting category, and after being released following the season, it looked like Strange-Gordon didn’t have a path back to the bigs.
Strange-Gordon was undeterred. He signed on with the Cincinnati Reds during Spring Training as a low-risk veteran option to compete at shortstop.
Even after a solid spring where he batted .281 with a .361 OBP and four swipes, he was passed over for a spot on the opening day roster for younger options.
When the Milwaukee Brewers came calling with a minor league deal a month ago, he didn’t hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity.
Assigned to the Brewers’ Triple-A Nashville Sounds, Strange-Gordon worked out at second base, shortstop and in the outfield. With injuries mounting across the big leagues, that versatility makes him an attractive option.
The Dee Strange-Gordon of old began to re-emerge in the Music City. He slashed .333/.378/.500 with a .878 OPS in 45 plate appearances.
His speed hasn’t gone anywhere either. Even after that difficult 2020 season, he ranked in the 85th percentile in speed last season.
Unfortunately, the numbers game didn’t work in his favor. The Brewers added infielder Willy Adames from Tampa Bay and his glove, though his bat has been pretty quiet this year.
What are the options available to Dee Strange-Gordon at this point?
The New York Mets have been mentioned as a possible destination. As their injured list gets longer and longer, having someone who can fill in holes like a can of Flex Seal.
New York could use an influx of energy for their stagnant offense, with J.D. Davis, Pete Alonso, Kevin Pillar, and others expected to be out for a while.
Another possible spot could be in Oakland with the A’s. Though the A’s still sit 1.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros, they haven’t gotten much production at shortstop. Perhaps Strange-Gordon could hold it down if Elvis Andrus continues to struggle.
Expanding the radius to the rest of the bigs, there are 10 second baseman with at least 120 at bats batting under .250.
At the very least, Strange-Gordon can help manufacture runs either as a runner or at the plate, and provide range in the field.
His resume and his skill set should get him a landing spot soon enough. When he finds that place, expect Dee Strange-Gordon to hit the ground running.
It’s what he does best.