The New York Yankees might be considered cheap for not offering shortstop Didi Gregorius another contract after rejecting his qualifying offer. Still, the reality is, they view a different player as the long-term option at the position.
Gregorius was more of a stop-gap until Gleyber Torres was established enough to succeed him and carry out the daily duties at the shortstop position. After playing a substantial portion of the 2019 season at the spot (77 games, .961 fielding percentage, 11 errors, 40 double plays), Torres seems to be ready to make the switch, especially with DJ LeMahieu’s strength being second base.
The era of Gregorius is coming to an end at the expense of Torres, and what a ride it has been. The post-game tweets that fans fell in love with, the Grand Slams during the postseason and late-game heroics all embody Didi’s time in the Bronx, but it’s time to move on with the future settling in.
Reports have indicated that the Philadelphia Phillies are intrigued by Gregorius’ services, potentially utilizing him as a replacement for Juan Segura, who has three years and $43.75 million remaining on a five-year, $70 million deal he signed with the Mariners in 2017.
The Phillies would be a suitable place for Didi to land, but seeing him in anything but Pinstripes will be tough to watch.
Are the New York Yankees cheap?
One could make the argument that the Yankees are cheap, and allocating funds towards retaining the infielder should be the priority. However, allocating anything more than $10 million, which is less than his price-tag indicates, would heavily restrain general manager Brian Cashman from pursuing a premium starting pitcher like Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg.
This offseason is about building around positions of weakness, and the shortstop position can be filled with an above-average hitter with developing defensive qualities. Gregorius is undoubtedly the better defensive option, but his latest injury held him back during the 2019 campaign. His .238 batting average was abnormally low, but he did manage to smash 16 homers. The Bombers have adapted to a home-run centric mentality in recent years, which relies more on long-ball totals than batting average and essentially disregards strikeouts.
Torres is equally a power-hitter to Didi, so the team wouldn’t be losing any value in that category.