Since Jimmy Rollins’ decline, the Philadelphia Phillies have had some of the worst shortstop production in all of baseball. This offseason, they set out to change that, signing shortstop Didi Gregorius to a one-year, $14 million contract in December.
Gregorius missed a lot of time in 2019 when recovering from Tommy John surgery to the elbow on his throwing arm, and struggled after returning in June. However, Gregorius was a top shortstop in the years prior. Here are three numbers that look at how he fits into this team and represents an upgrade at the shortstop position.
88 – Home runs since 2016
When the Yankees acquired Gregorius in 2015, he was not known for his power stroke. Heading into 2016, he only had 22 home runs in 346 career games. Over the next four years, Gregorius hit 20, 25, 27 and 16 home runs, respectively. His total during this period is fifth-best among all major league shortstops.
Gregorius’ power represents an upgrade at the shortstop position for the Phillies. Jean Segura only hit 12 home runs in 2019, and the .384 slugging percentage from Phillies shortstops since 2016 ranks 22nd among all MLB teams.
8.8 – Combined fWAR in 2017 and 2018
There is some risk in adding a player like Gregorius that is coming off an injury and a down season. However, heading into 2019, some saw Gregorius as a top-five shortstop in all of baseball. His power and defense helped him to become incredibly valuable to a Yankees team that made the playoffs in each year.
During these two seasons in particular, Gregorius ranked third among all MLB shortstops and 24th among all position players in fWAR. He may have struggled in 2019, but he is not far removed from being one of the better players in all of baseball. The Phillies know this, which is why they bet on him this offseason.
Two – Career seasons with over 140 games played
Gregorius has clearly been a very good player over the last few seasons, but his durability has come into question. He has made five trips to the injured list during his career and missed chunks of time in each of the last three seasons.
The good news for the Phillies is that, other than his recovery time from Tommy John surgery last season, none of his injuries have sidelined him for an extensive amount of time. The Phillies don’t have outstanding infield depth, but Scott Kingery and Jean Segura can both fill in at shortstop in the case of an injury to Gregorius.
Signing Gregorius comes with some risk, but he represents an upgrade at shortstop for the Phillies. If he can match his production from his time as a Yankee, he will be well worth the contract.
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