Yankees: Didi Gregorius signs one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies
After spending the last five seasons with the Yankees free agent shortstop Didi Gregorius has agreed to a one-year, $14M deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. He’ll be reunited with his former skipper Joe Girardi.
Last season was a down year for Didi and that’s a big reason why he won’t be back with the Yankees next season. He missed the first two months of the season after he underwent Tommy John surgery the previous October and once he came back he struggled to produce consistently at the plate. In 82 games he hit .238 with 16 HR, 61 RBI, and a .276 OBP. A lot of his struggles can probably be attributed to him coming back to soon to try and help the team win which speaks volumes about his character and the type of competitor he was during his time in New York.
In the postseason he was able to give Yankee fans one more great memory when he launched a grand slam in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Twins. He hit .400 with six RBI to help sweep Minnesota, however in the ALCS, he was non-factor offensively against the Astros hitting .217 with O RBI.
Earlier this offseason the Yankees declined to extend Didi the qualifying offer of $17.8M and likely did so because they were afraid he would accept it. Looking at the deal he got from Philly it’s safe to assume the Yankees were right in thinking he would’ve accepted the QO.
Signing a one-year deal was a wise decision by Didi because now he’ll enter next season a year and a half removed from surgery and should be able to rebuild his value before hitting the free-agent market again next winter. As much as it hurts to see him sign with Philadelphia he’s put himself in a good spot by reuniting with Girardi and going to a team that plays in a very hitter-friendly home ballpark.
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As for the Yankees, they’ll now slide Gleyber Torres over to shortstop and make DJ LeMahieu the everyday second basemen. I thought there was a slight chance they’d bring Didi back for one more year, but I don’t think the Yanks were going to offer him as much money as the Phillies did. Especially while they waited for their newest acquisition and superstar ace Gerrit Cole to make his final decision.
Losing Didi is a tough blow but the Yankees should be ok without him in 2020. That being said they’ll definitely miss his left-handed bat and leadership in the clubhouse. Gleyber has room to improve at short but there’s no reason to believe he won’t become a very good defender at the position with more reps. Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada are both solid backup options as well so there’s really no need to go out and add another middle infielder.
My only concern is that the lineup next season will be too right-handed heavy, even though it’s a lineup that should be one of the best in baseball once again. Assuming Brett Gardner is re-signed he’d be the only projected starter who bats lefty so maybe Brian Cashman’s next move will be to trade for another impact lefty bat.
Some final thoughts on Didi. Heading into the offseason Yankees fans all knew it was unlikely he would return but now that he’s gone it really stings. He was a great Yankee and over the past five seasons he provided the fanbase with so many great moments and ended up being the perfect replacement for franchise icon Derek Jeter. He will certainly be missed and I wish him all the best.
It might be a long shot but my hope is this isn’t goodbye for good and that this time next year he’ll sign back with New York and continue his career where he belongs in pinstripes.