Yankees fans may not realize a Didi Gregorius return is very problematic.
When Didi Gregorius departed the New York Yankees in free agency last offseason, an overwhelming majority of fans were upset. The shortstop’s endless positive energy, sure-handed defense, and trademark lefty bat brought so much to this team ever since he filled in for Derek Jeter.
But the Yankees didn’t have much of a choice, sadly. Their bargain signing of DJ LeMahieu turned into something they would’ve never imagined, and they needed to move forward with Gleyber Torres taking over his native shortstop position. After all, the 23-year-old figures to be the future, right?
Now, Gregorius is hitting free agency again this offseason and some fans seem to think a reunion with the Yanks is in the cards. Maybe it is! But if that’s the case, something drastic is going to happen, and it’ll be another scenario in which everyone is torn.
Of course there’s competition! Didi is a great shortstop and an invaluable teammate. But if he comes back, he’ll theoretically be forcing Torres off of shortstop or Torres/LeMahieu (or others) out of New York. That’s just the reality of the situation. Gregorius is not a part-time player. He is a starting shortstop and the accommodation would need to be made.
If Yankees fans want him back, that means a number of things could happen, and each scenario has some sort of bad news. Let’s take a look:
- Torres moves back to 2B, Yankees let LeMahieu walk in free agency
- Yankees re-sign LeMahieu, keep him at 2B, and trade Torres
- Yankees re-sign LeMahieu and put him at 1B, move Torres to 2B, and trade Luke Voit
- Yankees re-sign LeMahieu, keep him at 2B, move Torres to 3B, and trade Gio Urshela
- Yankees re-sign LeMahieu, move him to 3B, move Torres to 2B, and trade Urshela
Do you like any of those? Plus, we can’t even guarantee DJLM would welcome a full-time position change at this point. He’s proven to be an unstoppable force on this team and you have to imagine he’d want to remain comfortable at second base, where he’s played most of his career.
The only “win” here — if you can even call it that — is if another team drastically out-bids the Yankees for LeMahieu, which would hinder them from making additions elsewhere (rotation, bullpen, infield depth), and give them no choice but to let him go. Only then would a reunion with Gregorius not interrupt the status quo and force a major move in the Yankees infield.