Though there seemingly has been little movement on J.T. Realmuto’s market this offseason, it’s been clear that the Philadelphia Phillies are focused on the future of the two-time All-Star catcher, even if a return is uncertain.
However, since Dave Dombrowski took over as president of baseball operations and Sam Fuld was promoted to general manager, mum has been the word on the future of shortstop Didi Gregorius.
In the first update on the 30-year-old in some time, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia says that the Phillies “continued to be engaged” with Gregorius. In an offseason without much in the way of a hot stove, that seems like somewhat of a development.
Gregorius signed a one-year, prove-it deal with the Phillies last offseason, and was excellent in the 60-game season, slashing .284/.339/.488 with 10 home runs, 40 RBIs and an .827 OPS. Even without fans in the stands, Gregorius became a fan favorite in his lone season in Philadelphia to this point.
At the outset of the offseason, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors projected that Gregorius would land a three-year/$39 million deal. With former first-round pick Bryson Stott and a potentially historic free-agent shortstop class next offseason looming, such a projection seemed a bit high for how many perceived the Phillies would operate this winter.
At this stage, though, you really wonder if Gregorius will be able to command three years, even after a strong season. George A. King III of The New York Post reported in late October that the Los Angeles Angels had interest in Gregorius, though they’ve since acquired José Iglesias. Despite much speculation, Gregorius didn’t seem to think that a return to the New York Yankees would be in the cards in an appearance on WFAN just days later. Gregorius’ original team, the Cincinnati Reds, were reportedly interested in him, among other shortstops, but that report was back in late November.
Since then, there’s been radio silence. That doesn’t mean that Gregorius will end up back in Philadelphia, but he’s probably more likely to have to settle for a one or two-year deal this offseason.
On a one-year deal, one would think that the Phillies would be ecstatic to bring back Gregorius, depending, of course, upon the pricetag. It would be interesting to see if the Phillies would consider committing to two years, a move that may preclude them from pursuing Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, Carlos Correa or any of the major shortstops that could reach free agency next offseason. If Gregorius comes back with Realmuto, then the Phillies probably wouldn’t have the financial flexibility to pursue a star shortstop next offseason anyway. That said, if Realmuto departs, seemingly the Phillies would like to keep the door open to pursue a star shortstop next winter.
For his part, Gregorius has acknowledged that it takes two to tango, but has expressed a willingness to return to the Phillies.
“If they want me back, sure,” Gregorius said to Moose & Maggie about his future with the Phillies in October 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.”
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