Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius claims the New York Yankees made it very clear that he wasn’t in their 2020 plans.
Didi Gregorius was indeed a beloved member of the New York Yankees but also understands baseball is a business. Speaking to several reporters, including Anthony Rieber of Newsday, Gregorius said New York was “loud and clear” regarding their intentions in free agency.
“I mean, there’s nothing else that I can do,” Gregorius said. “They showed it loud and clear what it was and it’s time to move on and put on the red and play.”
Gregorius, who turned 30 last month, signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. This reunited him with former Yankees skipper Joe Girardi, who spent three years turning Gregorius into a breakout star. He will earn $14 million in 2020, up from $11.75 million last year.
What it all means
All in all, Gregorius is 100% correct in how the Yankees addressed his free agency. How quickly we forget that despite his many accomplishments in pinstripes, the Yankees didn’t even tender him a qualifying offer last winter. This meant the Phillies didn’t have to send the Yankees a compensatory draft pick after signing him.
And such a move wasn’t, at all, a surprise. Gregorius was out until June recovering from offseason Tommy John surgery and was never quite right after returning. He slugged 16 home runs with 61 RBI but recorded a meager line of .238/.276/.441. That’s quite a drop from batting .268 in 2018.
Moreover, in Gregorius’ absence, the Yankees infield fared quite well. Gio Urshela broke out as a strong third baseman at the plate and in the field. Gleyber Torres is a natural shortstop and had a great breakout season of his own. DJ LeMahieu played so well that a contract extension could soon be a reality.
With the Yankees infield playing well in Gregorius’ absence, it’s clear he wasn’t going to come back in 2020 unless he absolutely raked at the plate. General manager Brian Cashman additionally made it quietly clear that adding pitcher Gerrit Cole would be the main priority.
The good news is there seems to be no ill will between both parties.
“They gave me an opportunity to play every day,” Gregorius said of the Yankees. “And [I] turned into a better player.”
His Yankees tenure was fun while it lasted. Unfortunately, circumstances just didn’t allow for him to be re-signed.