While not in that upper echelon of free agents, a lot of teams could use a guy like Didi Gregorius. He is a clubhouse leader who speaks four languages fluently, is a self-taught pianist, paints portraits, oh and he’s also a knight. Gregorius may very well be the most interesting man in baseball. He’s also a really good baseball player. He has a .265/.315/.433 regular season slash line with 120 home runs and 457 RBI in 911 games. Gregorius had the daunting task of replacing Derek Jeter as the shortstop of the New York Yankees. He did an admirable job, hitting 20+ home runs in three of his five seasons with the team. His final season with the team did not go how he wanted, as he was recovering from injury and hit just .238 in 82 games. The veteran signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in order to rebuild his value. It definitely paid off, as he played all sixty games, hitting .284 with 22 extra-base hits and 40 RBI. Outside of a reunion with the Phillies, these are some potential landing spots for Gregorius.
Los Angeles Angels
With Andrelton Simmons now a free agent, the Los Angeles Angels have an opening at shortstop. Simmons was a great defender and a solid offensive player, but he didn’t have a lot of pop. In 30 games, Simmons didn’t have a home run. Didi Gregorius is a solid defender and has a lot of pop. He has hit 20+ home runs in three seasons, and he was on pace to reach that mark this year had it been a full season. Gregorius also has the same ability to make contact that Simmons has, his 7.7 at-bats per strikeout was third in the NL. The Angels could choose to spend their money on pitching, which is a more dire need, but Gregorius would be a great fit in that lineup.
The Cincinnati Reds lineup is filled with big names, but something is missing. It was way too boom or bust in 2020. Their .215 team average and 390 hits were both last in the NL. Their 243 runs scored were 13th in the NL, but their 90 home runs were fourth. Didi Gregorius is a good RBI guy, having driven in 70+ runs three times in his career, and being on pace to do it again in this shortened season. In addition to that, the dimensions of Great American Ballpark suit Gregorius well. The former Yankee made his living hit homers in the shallow right field porch of Yankee Stadium, and the Reds ballpark is very similar in its shallow dimensions. Gregorius could be the missing piece in the under-performing Reds lineup.
The Oakland Athletics can let Marcus Semien walk in free agency if they sign Gregorius. Gregorius has never had a season like Semien’s 2019. Semien finished third in the MVP voting and had 83 extra-base hits, scoring 123 runs. However, this season was not in line with his career numbers. Semien’s regular-season career slash line is just a solid .254/.322/.425. Gregorius has never had a year as Semien had, but his floor is a little higher, even if his ceiling isn’t as high. He can definitely pick up where Semien left off, as a productive shortstop for a postseason team.
Time may be running out on current Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia. The 26-year-old has a career slash line of .244/.295/.366. He has shown flashes, particularly in the postseason where he has four home runs in 13 games. However, the Brewers need more consistent offensive production. Milwaukee barely made the postseason in 2020, and the clear deficiency of the team was offense. Gregorius can provide offense for a team with a .223 team average and 247 runs scored, both 12th in the NL.
Gregorius is not a top tier free agent, but he could provide more value than even the numbers suggest. Whichever of these potential landing spots he ends up at, Gregorius will be a great leader off the field and provide some good production on the field.
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