We have plenty of time, let’s use it! A background of the Phillies new SS Didi Gregorius

Gregorius signed with the Cincinnati Reds back in 2007. He chose the Reds over a few other organizations, mainly because the Reds were willing to bring him to the US while the others planned on sending him to the Dominican or Venezuelan winter leagues. He made his way up the minor league ladder and made his major league debut for the Reds as a September call up in 2012. Blocked at receiving a full time role with the Reds by Zack Cozart, Didi was traded in a 3 team deal to the Cleveland Indians and then to the Arizona Diamondbacks before the start of the 2013 season. Known mostly for his defensive prowess and low strikeout rate in Arizona, he struggled to find playing time behind Chris Owings. Playing in a total of 183 games for the Dbacks through 2 seasons with a .241/.314/.368 slash line.

His greatest professional challenge would take place in 2015. He was traded to the Yankees as a part of another 3 team deal to take over for the future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. A moved heavily criticized by the inner circles of the game at the time, Didi’s first season was on par with what was seen during his time in Arizona. The 2016 season saw Didi take things to a new level. He hit .276 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI’s. All career highs, including a few others such as hits (155) and doubles (32). This defensive strong shortstop was turning into an all star caliber player before Yankees fans eyes. Outside of his injury shortened 2019 season, Gregorius filled in the void left by Jeter more so than anyone imagined he would. In five seasons with the Yanks, he hit .269/.313/.469 with 97HR’s and 360 RBI’s.

Gregorius with his former Yankee, current Phillies manager Joe Girardi

”I didn’t have to talk to Didi, he knows how I feel about him and how much I’d love to have him.” Joe Girardi has spoken very highly of his SS since Didi signed a 1yr-$14 million deal with the Phillies this past December. “He’s a real character guy, and he’s a real hard worker who is a really important clubhouse presence” Girardi explained. The one year deal was due to his injury shortened 2019 season in NY, playing in just 82 games. Recovering from Tommy John surgery had an impact on his strikeout/walk ratio and though he showed flashes of his prior seasons, he wasn’t quite himself. His 2020 season with injuries behind him, reunited with Girardi and being in another hitters park bodes well for a bounce back season for the Dutchman. “Being a good leader is just being yourself, because there is now reason for me to be fake.” Gregorius spoke of his leadership ability that has been so highly praised. “You have to keep having fun in this game. The game is hard if you put pressure on yourself and think too much. If you’re happy playing the game, that good energy will feed to other people.” It’s clear the Phillies brought in a veteran who has all the intangibles you’d want in a clubhouse. Positivity, and remembering you are playing a kids game can bring a fun loving presence to teammates and fans alike. Hopefully once this season gets underway everyone will be smiling, not just because we love seeing his smile, but because we love watching him bounce back in a Phillies uniform.

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