The Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to terms on a one-year, $14 million deal with free agent shortstop Didi Gregorius, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post and Jim Salisbury of NBC Philadelphia. Gregorius spent the last five seasons with the Yankees.
Gregorius, who turns 30 in February, is coming off a 2019 season for New York in which he batted .238/.276/.441 with 16 home runs in 82 games. Gregorius’ start to the season was delayed until early June because of his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Across parts of eight big-league seasons, Gregorius has an OPS+ of 99, which means he’s been an above-average hitter by shortstop standards.
Gregorius wasn’t up to his usual standards last season, but the Phillies will be hoping that he rediscovers his 2017-18 form, in which he had an OPS+ of 114 with 52 home runs and 50 doubles in 270 games. Given that he’ll be much further removed from surgery, that’s a possibility. The hope is that Gregorius will also resume being a plus defender at the position.
Last year, Jean Segura was the Phillies’ primary shortstop, but now he figures to be moved the second base. To fill the hole at third base, the Phillies may angle to sign Josh Donaldson or even Anthony Rendon, although landing either would likely push them over the Competitive Balance Tax (a.k.a., luxury tax) threshold. As for Gregorius, his signing a one-year deal means that he’s looking to reestablish his value with a healthy and productive season before re-entering the free agent market for the winter of 2020-21.
The Phillies have moved boldly toward contention both last offseason and this one. Last winter, they made notable additions via trade and free agency like Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, J.T. Realmuto, Segura, and David Robertson. This winter, they’ve paid $118 million for Zack Wheeler, and now Gregorius is in the fold.
The Phillies are coming off a .500 season and a fourth-place finish in what looks like a still tough NL East. So there’s more work to be done. Fortunately for Phillies rooters, ownership and the front office seem to realize that.