Robinson Cano, Didi Gregorius team up in baseball league you'd never expect

That, uh, just happened.

World Baseball Classic Pool D: Puerto Rico v Dominican Republic
World Baseball Classic Pool D: Puerto Rico v Dominican Republic / Al Bello/GettyImages

Well, Yankees fans, you can scratch one infield solution off your uncle's long list of half-remembered former Yanks who he'd like to see return.

Didi Gregorius has been out of the Bronx since the end of the 2019, when he departed for a pay raise in Philadelphia after the Yankees made it fairly clear he'd worn out his welcome. It was an odd parting of the ways; Gregorius was essential to the team's operation in 2017 and 2018, then rehabbed a torn UCL suffered in the '18 ALDS to come back midway through the next season, and contributed almost right away. He added another indelible playoff memory to his Yankee resumé, clocking a grand slam off the Twins in Game 2 of the Division Series.

And yet ... something never felt right about that season. He bristled a bit during the season as Gleyber Torres encroached on his territory at shortstop (coinciding with DJ LeMahieu's emergence). He didn't seem to be the same fun-loving force. When he did not receive a qualifying offer at the end of the campaign, he congratulated a few former Yankees, further distancing himself from the team.

Ultimately, he landed in Philadelphia, where his 2020 season was sliced by forces beyond his control (he posted an .827 OPS in 60 games). He did not display that level of consistency moving forward, and his career derailed in 2021 before he was granted his release midway through the 2022 season, leaving Philly with a .567 OPS.

Now a free agent again, Gregorius appears ready to take his talents to ... Dubai. On Monday, he became the "third overall pick" of the Baseball United Wolves, a UAE-based franchise of some kind. He joins Robinson Cano on the active roster.

Former Yankees Robinson Cano, Didi Gregorius on Dubai's Baseball United

Gregorius' career didn't flame out as spectacularly as Cano's; the former Yankees second baseman went from a likely Hall of Famer to a baseball exile after his second lengthy PED ban was set for the duration of the 2021 season. When Cano returned, he was more ... well, he was more likely to be the kind of player who partnered on launching a Dubai Baseball initiative than helping an MLB team, going out hitting .150 split three ways between the Mets, Braves and Padres.

Now, he and Gregorius will do something they never actually accomplished in pinstripes, teaming up on the same field (if this initiative ever comes to life). The two players were sliding doors in the Bronx, with Gregorius arriving the same offseason Cano departed for greener pastures in Seattle. Hopefully, they form an impressive heart of the order in an unexpected locale (and hopefully this is the last we ever hear about it).