Mike Rizzo has been busy during the lockout, agreeing to terms with multiple veterans on minor league deals.
MLB’s lockout is in full swing and no ends in sight. Despite this, the Nationals have been busy over the last 48 hours, signing veterans Dee Strange-Gordon and Maikel Franco to Minor League deals.
For Strange-Gordon, he is looking for another chance to land on an MLB roster. Last year, he signed Minor League deals with the Pirates, Reds, Brewers, and Cubs, but never broke onto any of their 26 man rosters.
The 33-year-old is no stranger to the NL East, having played with the Marlins from 2015-2017. Over that time, he slashed .309/.340/.384, with seven homers, 48 RBIs, and an OPS of .724. Since then, he has been worth 0.2 fWAR and has lost what made him such a dangerous spark plug.
With Washington, he would provide more depth as second, but would be fighting for playing time. Luis García is seen as the future of the position and the Nationals recently signed veteran César Hernández to a one-year deal.
Franco started his career with the Philadelphia Phillies and was once seen as a key part of the team’s core. In 80 games in 2015, he hit .280, with 14 homers, 50 RBIs, and an OPS of .840. Unfortunately, over his next four seasons with the Phillies, he was never able to build on his early success and was non-tendered after the 2019 season.
Last year he started the season with the Orioles, hitting .210, with 11 homers, 47 RBIs, and an OPS of .609 in 104 games. He was DFAed at the end of August and signed a Minor League deal with the Braves, but never broke onto their major league roster.
If he makes the Nationals roster, Franco provides depth at third and can be used as a power bat off the bench or an occasional DH. He has 121 career homers and has had success at Nationals Park in the past.