You thought the New York Yankees were just playing for a World Series? Well, Didi Gregorius is playing for something else too.
Every year, the goal is the same for the New York Yankees: bring home another title. The season is supposed to start in late March and should end with a ticker-tape parade in the heart of the city.
While the “Next Man Up” movement paid off in dividends for the Yankees, Didi Gregorius was left on the outside looking in.
To say that this season was a bust for the shortstop is completely accurate. Coming off Tommy John surgery for an injury that occurred in last year’s playoff series again the Boston Red Sox, Gregorius found himself with a long road back and couldn’t quite replicate the magic of his 2017 and 2018 campaigns.
Gregorius batted a career-high .287 during the 2017 season and supplied plenty of excitement during their improbable postseason run (anyone remember the Wild Card game that year?) In 2018, he surpassed a previous career-high by launching 27 home runs and stealing 10 bases. Then, the injury occurred.
Originally anticipated to be back in July, Gregorius arrived on the scene in early June but wasn’t quite himself. For the season, Gregorius posted a .238/.276/.441 line. When the offseason was filled with chatter regarding signing Gregorius to an extension, that conversation ceased as he sunk deeper and deeper into obscurity.
Now comes the postseason. This is what the New York Yankees live for…just look at their storied history. It’s win or bust in the Bronx for this Yankees team and Didi Gregorius was expected to be a potential bench player for this experience.
Gregorius is not just playing for a World Series championship, which would be the first of his career. Instead, he is playing for his life in the Bronx.
Someone can easily ink Didi to a multi-year deal. His defense is stellar. His presence at the plate is typically decent. We’ll chalk this season up to him recovering from a tough injury.
It’s not that the Yankees don’t want him. It’s more so that the Yankees have been able to test out other options and they’ve worked significantly better. No matter how much personality and style Gregorius brings to the team, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, and Gio Urshela have been here all season long and done significantly better. That leaves Didi as the possible odd man out.
This postseason is his last-ditch effort to plead for an extension to remain in pinstripes. While he may be fighting for the World Series ring as well, his future has to be in the back of his mind.
Returning to old form this postseason would make it a lot more difficult for the Yankees to let him walk. Currently, Didi is batting .400 in three games, including three extra-base hits. He has quickly become a reliable bat once again. The “Didi” chants are truly picking up.
He’s become relevant again and the New York Yankees need to take an extra look at him once the postseason draws to a close. And for Gregorius, in order to warrant a second look, he needs to turn back into his former self. And quick.
He’s well on his way to doing it but the next few games will be telling. Will his Yankees career continue or will he flame out in a glorious way?
Didi Gregorius wants that ring. But does he want to remain a New York Yankee too? Stay tuned for the rest of the postseason and maybe he’ll become the Didi we’ve all come to know and love once again.