Yankees: Didi Gregorius Is Handsomely Rewarded
Even though the Yankees are ripe with phenom shortstops in the Minor Leagues, Didi Gregorius is the rightful man in the middle for now.
Had it not been for Gary Sanchez‘s ascension to the heights of baseball stardom last season, 26-year-old Didi Gregorius would have been the Yankees’ biggest and brightest storyline from the season that was.
Because he was able to compile a .276/.304/.447 slash line with 20 home runs and 73 RBI, with a refined approach against tough left-handed pitchers (.324 BA), Gregorius was handsomely rewarded by the Yankees, avoiding arbitration, as he is now slated to make $5.1M in 2017 — more than doubling his $2.425M from a season ago.
Known more for his defensive ability during his time with the Arizona D’backs, Gregorius continues to get to many balls other shortstops wouldn’t even think about — yet has shown a propensity to boot the routine plays, which resulted in a career-high 15 errors in 2016.
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Should Gregorius continue to evolve into the clubhouse leader his teammates often rave about, while improving his glove work and OBP, Didi could force his way into the organization’s long-term plans. At the very least, another season on par with ’16 will have teams banging down the Yankees’ door to potentially acquire his services.
In other arbitration-related news, the organization and reserve catcher Austin Romine agreed to a 1-year, $805,000 deal. Romine will head into camp as the presumptive favorite to back up Gary Sanchez.
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According to MLB Trade Rumors, Romine was projected to make $900,000 — so all in all both sides did all right. Other arbitration-eligible players and their projections include Michael Pineda ($7.8M, up from $4.3M), Dellin Betances ($3.2M, up from $507,000), Adam Warren ($2.3M, up from $1.7), Aaron Hicks ($1.4M, up from $574,000), and Tommy Layne ($1.2M, up from $563,750).