Hailing from across the pond, Netherlands native and Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius signed his first professional contract way back in 2007 with the Reds organization. He would go on to work his way up through Cincinnati’s minor league system before making his MLB debut in September of 2012. That offseason, Gregorius would be dealt off to Arizona, where he would play for just 2 years before being traded to New York.
There, Gregorius would have the heavily weighted task of being Derek Jeter’s replacement at shortstop, and he failed to disappoint. Many believed he had a perfect lefty swing for Yankee Stadium, and he would go on to prove those people right over the next 5 seasons as his power developed. Not only did Gregorius do some series damage offensively in a deep Yankee lineup, but he was also a staple up the middle defensively for his pitching staff.
Didi was a fan favorite in the big apple, and for good reason: He is a gamer, who is true to his craft, and always looking for ways to help his team win ball games. Although many believed the Yankees would end up keeping Gregorius in town, they decided to go in a different direction by moving 2nd Baseman Gleyber Torres over to shortstop.
Unfortunately for Gregorius, undergoing Tommy John surgery before his last year in the Bronx may have hurt value heading into free agency. Ultimately, he would end up settling for a one-year deal with the Phillies to reunite with his former skipper Joe Girardi. The veteran struggled out of the gate with his new team in spring training, but as we all know that was cut short.
Instead, Gregorius would make his Phillies debut in July, when the team opened up its season at home against Miami. From day one, his left-handed bat made an impact, protecting the likes of Rhys Hoskins, Bryce Harper, and J.T. Realmuto. It is also worth noting that the signing of Gregorius allowed the Phillies to play to their depth at other positions.
Jean Segura, the team’s starting shortstop a season prior, would get reps at 3rd Base, keeping the seat warm until Alec Bohm’s arrival in August. After that, he would go on to play 2nd base for Scott Kingery, who had a season riddled with injuries, a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, and extensive struggles at the dish. Kingery could never seem to get it going. On the other hand, his partner up the middle had a very productive season.
Overall, in 59 games played during the 2020 campaign, Gregorius hit .284 with 10 HRs and 40 RBI’s. He had an OPS of .827, which is almost 80 points higher than his career average of .748. A promising sign from a player who just completed his first season in their 30’s. At this moment in time, most analysts are speculating Gregorius will be seeking a multi-year this offseason, and who can blame him? He is a talented player who brings a lot to the table, including some pretty sick artwork:
On a more serious note, the next couple of weeks will be crucial for the Philadelphia Phillies franchise. The team is coming off yet another late-season collapse, in which all they had to do was win 1 of their final 3 games to make the playoffs. As we all know, they failed to get the job done. It is easy to point fingers at the higher-ups in the organization, as there is without a doubt some blame to go around in the front office. The attempts to improve their relief core, or lack thereof, mid-season turned out to be disastrous, and if nothing more added to the humiliation of what was already one of the worst bullpens in MLB history.
With that being said, Matt Klentak and company made a wise move bringing in Didi Gregorius last winter. Regardless of whether Klentak will be back to see things through, or a new GM will take his place, whoever is calling the shots should strongly consider bringing back Didi Gregorius at the right price.
Bryson Stott, the team’s first-round selection last summer, is still a few years away from making his MLB debut. With COVID canceling all of Minor League Baseball in 2020, Stott, like countless of other prospects, lost a year of development. One could make the argument that Jean Segura should just move back to shortstop, given that he is already under contract for next season.
However, Scott Kingrey’s offensive production as alluded to earlier was worrisome this year. Given the fact Kingrey can play the outfield, the team could benefit from his versatility should they decide to play him in there on occasion, despite the down year he had with the bat. If Segura were to move back to shortstop full-time, Kingrey would almost have to go back to being exclusively a 2nd baseman.
All summer long fans lobbied for the team to resign their beloved backstop, J.T. Realmuto. Didi Gregarious is certainly someone they should consider resigning as well. He may not be the fan favorite Realmuto is, and he is not considered to be one of the top players at his position, but Gregorius played a key role on the 2020 Phillies and we would miss having him around without question.