Cincinnati Reds: 3 non-roster invitees who’ll make Opening Day lineup

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 27: A detail view of a Cincinnati Reds red and glove against the Minnesota Twins. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 27: A detail view of a Cincinnati Reds red and glove against the Minnesota Twins. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /
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Seattle Mariners second baseman Dee Strange-Gordon against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Strange-Gordon signed a minor-league deal with the Reds.
Sep 13, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Dee Strange-Gordon against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Dee Strange-Gordon, Reds infielder

No non-roster invitee has a better chance to make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster than Dee Strange-Gordon. With a wide-open hole at shortstop this spring Strange-Gordon is hoping to not only land a spot on the 26-man roster, but in the starting lineup.

Strange-Gordon has spent the last few seasons with the Seattle Mariners and became a free agent when the M’s declined his $14M team-option this past winter. After searching through the free agent market and potential trade scenarios, it appears as though Nick Krall and the Cincinnati front office feel that Strange-Gordon best fits what the team is looking for this season at shortstop.

While the addition definitely falls short of expectations, Strange-Gordon is a talented ballplayer that can certainly help the team this season. As it stands, I’d have to surmise that David Bell will look to a combination of Dee Strange-Gordon and Kyle Farmer at shortstop heading into the 2021 season.

Strange-Gordon has speed; granted not as much as he used to have back when he stole 122 bases for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014-2105 and went to back-to-back All-Star Games. Despite his numbers trending in the wrong direction, here’s one thing Strange-Gordon isn’t lacking, and that’s confidence. Here’s what former Gold Glove-winner had to say to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon:

"“I played second base because that was the only way I could get to the big leagues at the time with the Dodgers. It was the only way I could break in and solidify myself as a big leaguer. [Shortstop] has always been my position. I’m just happy to finally get to play it or get the opportunity to play it.”"

In 2021, given the talent around him, I’m content with the idea of Dee Strange-Gordon alternating with Kyle Farmer at shortstop so long as they’re just keeping the position warm for José García until he’s ready for major league pitching.