Phillies Nation

2020 Offseason

Didi Gregorius would like to return to Phillies ‘if they want me back’


If Didi Gregorius had his way, he would have return to the New York Yankees last offseason. However, the team’s energy was focused on signing superstar righty Gerrit Cole, and they felt he had become a luxury with DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres capable of manning the two middle infield positions.

Didi Gregorius is set to become a free agent. (John Adams/Icon Sportswire)

A year later, Gregorius says he would like to return to the Philadelphia Phillies, but as free agency approaches, he can’t control whether that will prove to be what happens.

“If they want me back, sure,” Gregorius said Friday to Moose & Maggie about his future with the Phillies on WFAN. “I can’t force or say that I have to do this, or I have to be there. At the end of the day, it’s up to them. I really enjoyed playing with the guys over there – I had a really great time.”

Gregorius signed a one-year, prove-it deal with the Phillies last offseason worth $14 million. Bryce Harper would say at at the conclusion of the season, essentially, that Gregorius had proven he’s still one of the better offensive shortstops in the league. In his age-30 season, Gregorius slashed .284/.339/.488 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs after being reunited with Joe Girardi, his former manager in the Bronx.

Of course, the Phillies would like to retain Gregorius. That said, J.T. Realmuto is also set to become a free agent and the Phillies have to rebuild a tattered bullpen. If they re-sign both Realmuto and Gregorius, save for a few subtle changes, the Phillies may be running back a team that was extremely disappointing in 2020, going 28-32 and missing the postseason. Perhaps that isn’t the best way to use the organization’s resources, ones that managing partner John Middleton has suggested may be more limited than normal because of fans being unable to attend games during the shortened 2020 season, and uncertainty about whether they will be able to in 2021.

In many senses, whether Gregorius returns to the Phillies may come down to his asking price. A one-year deal on a similar value as last season, theoretically, would be perfect for the Phillies. Former first-round pick Bryson Stott, a natural shortstop, may be ready for the majors be 2022. A historic free-agent class also looms at the position next offseason. Still, we don’t know if the Phillies will extend a qualifying offer to Gregorius, because if he accepted it, they would be on the hook for $18.9 million in 2021.

It’s possible that the Phillies don’t extend a qualifying offer to Gregorius but still make a play for him on the free-agent market. We don’t know if they would be willing to go multiple years for Gregorius, or if any other suitors would be. While Gregorius said in the interview that he doesn’t expect the Yankees will pursue a reunion with him this winter, George A. King III of The New York Post says that the Los Angeles Angels have interest in Gregorius.

If the Phillies were to lose Gregorius this offseason, they have internal options of Jean Segura and Scott Kingery to replace him, though both would seemingly be downgrades. Phillies Nation‘s Jonny Heller took a look earlier this month at some other external options to play the position.

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