The Philadelphia Phillies are heading into a crucial offseason, with Didi Gregorius and J.T. Realmuto, two of their top position players, set to enter free agency.
The team has had a different opening day shortstop for three consecutive seasons since trading Freddy Galvis to the San Diego Padres following the 2017 season. If they fail to re-sign Gregorius, it will become four straight years with a new face at the position.
While Gregorius had a great 2020 season and would fit well with the team moving forward, it is not a certainty that the Phillies will bring him back. Here are some other options that the team will have to entertain in this coming offseason.
Jean Segura played shortstop for much of his career prior to this season. While his defensive metrics ranked highly this year as he split time between second base and third base, a move back to shortstop could still happen for Segura if the Phillies are unable to sign a shortstop in free agency this season.
Segura could also stick at second base while Scott Kingery mans shortstop, a position he spent plenty of time at during his rookie season in 2018. Joe Girardi suggested late in the season to Phillies Nation that the team still views Kingery as an everyday player, but it’s difficult to know how the Phillies will proceed with him moving forward.
The Phillies drafted shortstop Bryson Stott out of UNLV with their first-round pick in 2019. He could be the long-term answer at the position and spent 2020 at the alternative site in Lehigh Valley, but he is likely to begin the season in the minor leagues before he’s ready to make contributions at the big-league level. Stott’s eventual availability, though, could push the team to look for a shorter deal with another shortstop.
Marcus Semien is certainly the best option available at shortstop outside of Gregorius. His best season came in 2019 when he hit .285/.369/.522, but has otherwise been pedestrian at the plate during his career. He has, however, consistently been one of the top defensive shortstops in baseball for the last three seasons. He will probably command a multi-year deal similar to what Gregorius receives.
Defensive wizard Andrelton Simmons, who most recently played for the Los Angeles Angels, is another option for the Phillies. While he is considered one of the best defensive players in the game, his career OPS under .700 would be a significant downgrade from Gregorius’ production this season.
Jonathan Villar, who went to the Houston Astros when the Phillies acquired Roy Oswalt, enjoyed a breakout season with the Baltimore Orioles in 2019. He struggled at the plate in 2020 and will likely command a smaller contract than some of the other names available.
The former Phillie Galvis will also be a free agent, and he, like Simmons and Villar, is a significant step down offensively from the production the Phillies got out of the position this season.
The biggest name on the trade market this offseason will be Francisco Lindor, Cleveland’s superstar shortstop who is just a year away from free agency.
It seems unlikely that the Phillies, given the situation with J.T. Realmuto and a lack of depth in the farm system, would make a move for Lindor. The same holds true for Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, who also is just a year from free agency and is one of the best at his position.
One potential trade target that is more realistic for the Phillies is Baltimore Oriole Jose Iglesias. Iglesias excelled in the shortened season but has struggled at the plate throughout his career. He would be a clear downgrade from Gregorius, but is a top defensive shortstop and will be making just $3.5 million in 2021.
The Phillies will certainly have options this offseason, and there will be a historic free-agent class following 2021 including Lindor, Story, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa and Corey Seager. But if they fail to sign Gregorius, the Phillies are likely to see a decline in production from the shortstop position in 2021.
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