On Monday, Didi Gregorius hinted that he may accept a one-year deal rather than demand multiple years. On Tuesday, the Phillies signed Gregorius to a one-year deal worth $14-million. The move allows Gregorius, who missed much of the last season with an elbow injury, to perhaps reset his worthiness for a long-term deal by putting up big 2020 numbers and again become a free agent at the end of the season. At that time, Gregorius would hope to cash in on something much longer than one year and more lucrative than $14-million.
While Gregorius has multiyear opportunities it’s possible he may choose to reset his value with a 1 year deal now that he’s at full health— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 10, 2019
Gregorius, who turns 30 next February, played in just 82 games this past season after recovering from Tommy John surgery. In a three-year stretch from 2016 to 2018, Gregorius averaged a 24-81-.277/.319/.472 line, playing 141 games per season with the Yankees, who were managed by Joe Girardi, who took over as the Phillies manager early in the offseason. This past season, Gregorius managed a line of 17-53-.238/.276/.441 in 344 plate appearances with New York.
Gregorius played 11 games at second base and two at third base with Arizona in 2014, but has played 828 career games at short during his career. The Phillies will put Gregorius at short and likely move incumbent shortstop Jean Segura to second base. Segura has played 142 games at second base, all of which came during his one-year stint with the Diamondbacks in 2016. The Phillies had an opening at second base since non-tendering Cesar Hernandez. They still have an opening at third that was created by non-tendering Maikel Franco, but it’s likely that spot will be filled by Scott Kingery, with Adam Haseley taking over in center field, where Kingery spent most of his time in 2019. The Phillies could also consider a player such as free agent Josh Donaldson to play third base.
Financially, the move leaves the Phillies approximately $6-million worth of wiggle room under the luxury cap for the upcoming season. CEO John Middleton has said the team would go over the cap, but only for “the right player.” It’s unclear if remaining free agents such as Donaldson, Anthony Rendon or Madison Bumgarner would be the type of player that the Phillies would cross the luxury cap line to obtain.
Earlier in the offseason, the Phillies signed pitcher Zack Wheeler to a five-year, $118-million deal, filling a hole in their starting rotation. The Phillies then set their sights toward filling the infield spots created by non-tendering Hernandez and Franco.