Didi Gregorius has been in the rumor mill since the offseason began, but very little of the reporting has tied him to the Yankees. Since the team decided not to give him a qualifying offer, the most we’ve heard is that they’ve had some conversations with his agent. That was nearly a month ago. The Yankees tend to fly under the radar in terms of hot stove rumors, so maybe it’s not such a big deal that there hasn’t been much news. Still, there are clearly other teams are pursuing Gregorius. Let’s take a look at who the Bombers are competing with:
No team has been more connected to Gregorius in free agency than the Phillies. Yesterday, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia said that the team is in serious pursuit of the shortstop. This on the heels of Jon Morosi and George King reporting the same over the last two weeks.
The Phils are an obvious fit for a multitude of reasons. They have plenty of room for Didi in the infield, as they can move incumbent shortstop Jean Segura to another position. Segura can go to second or third base now that the team let go of Maikel Franco and César Hernández.
Aside from a positional fit, Gregorius has a big fan in the Phillies’ new manager, Joe Girardi. He of course was Didi’s skipper for three years with the Yankees.
Here’s the other team interested in Gregorius’s services. Jon Heyman first tweeted out the Reds’ interest about a month ago, but we haven’t heard much since. Didi was a Reds prospect way back when.
In the meantime, the Reds just signed Mike Moustakas the other day. It’s unclear if that deal will preclude them from signing Gregorius, but in any case, Didi still would be a great fit there. Right now, Freddy Galvis is slated to be the team’s starting shortstop. Gregorius would be a substantial upgrade. For a team that appears to be trying to contend next season, making upgrades such as Galvis to Gregorius make a ton of sense.
Now we’re getting to the teams that haven’t been rumored, but ones I think are a good match.
The Brewers have tried to entrench Orlando Arcia at shortstop to no avail. Once a top prospect, Arcia now has 1,676 plate appearances and a 68 wRC+ and 0.2 fWAR. He’s still just 25, but at this point, it’s probably time to move on especially for a team ostensibly looking to win.
They did just trade for Luis Urías, who may wind up being the shortstop for them in 2020. However, he’s played plenty of second base before and has a little experience at the hot corner.
All that said, the Brewers’ behavior this offseason doesn’t seem to be of a team that’s trying to contend. They’ve already lost Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas, declined Eric Thames’s option, and cut guys like Travis Shaw. If they’re trying to play a game where they can snag a guy (or multiple guys) late in free agency on a one-year deal, like they’ve done with Grandal and Moustakas in the past, they may be out of luck here.
Here’s another one of Didi’s former clubs. Gregorius was traded from the Reds to the Diamondbacks in a three-team deal that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds and Trevor Bauer to Cleveland before the 2013 season.
The Diamondbacks won 85 games last year, more than I think most expected especially after they dealt Paul Goldschmidt in advance of the regular season. Plus, they traded away Zack Greinke at the deadline, too. They’re not going to topple the Dodgers any time soon, but perhaps a Wild Card berth is in the organization’s sight. Gregorius certainly would help.
Other than Eduardo Escobar, Arizona’s infield is thin. Nick Ahmed is the team’s shortstop, and while he’s reputed to be an excellent defender, he doesn’t offer much with the bat. Didi would be an upgrade over Ahmed, but Gregorius could also fill the void at second or third, depending on which position Escobar plays.
New York Mets
The Mets’ have Amed Rosario at short, but there’s been discussions in the past about him fitting better in center field. The Mets could use a center fielder, too. Now, Rosario improved quite a bit in the second half of 2019, which pumped the brakes on position switch discussions, but it still shouldn’t be ruled out. That’s where Gregorius would come into play.
Of course, Gregorius is better than Rosario in the first place. But, are the Mets willing to spend this winter? It doesn’t sound like it. I wouldn’t count on him in blue and orange because of that, but ignoring money for a moment, it’s a logical fit. Plus, Didi could stay in New York, where we know he’s already comfortable.
Chicago White Sox
It seems like the White Sox are trying to become an AL Central contender. They were linked to Manny Machado last year, though that never came to fruition. This year, they’ve already signed Yasmani Grandal and seem to be heavily involved in the Zack Wheeler sweepstakes. Why not add Gregorius to the mix?
Well, the White Sox don’t really need a shortstop. Tim Anderson was great last year, though it’s fair to wonder how much regression he’s in for after recording a .399 BABIP. In any event, Anderson’s defense is not great a short, so perhaps he could move to another spot in the infield to make way for Didi.
The South Siders’ infield is already pretty deep, with the aforementioned Anderson, Yoán Moncada, José Abreu, and top prospect Nick Madrigal close to the majors. So, maybe it’s too crowded for Didi. Still, Abreu would be better off at DH, which means maybe someone can play out of position at first base.
Similar to Chicago, the Nationals don’t need a shortstop. Trea Turner isn’t going anywhere. However, they have openings at second and third base right now, namely with Anthony Rendon a free agent.
Should Rendon depart, Gregorius would be a decent fallback option for the Nats. It’d be a downgrade, but they’re going to need someone to fill Rendon’s shoes. And, even if they brought back Rendon, Gregorius would be just fine at second. Both Howie Kendrick and Brian Dozier are other free agents that may not return to Washington.