After the rejection of Didi Gregorius’ qualifying offer of $17.8 million, the Yankees now have to make a decision on the shortstop position. They can go several ways this offseason.
Either they elect to move Gleyber Torres into a permanent role at short or look into potential free agents to fill the void. However, the idea of re-signing Gregorius isn’t a bad one by any means. Not only is he loved in the Yankees clubhouse, but he’s been efficient on offense and defense for the club over his tenure.
Coming off Tommy John surgery, Didi finished the 2019 season with a .238 batting average, 16 homers, and 61 RBIs. His season was highlighted by his defensive quality and ability to pull balls over the short right porch at Yankees stadium. A Grand Slam in the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins attests to his value in clutch situations and overall production.
The 2019 season wasn’t Didi’s best, though, as coming off a significant injury undoubtedly played a part in his momentum. He seems to be 100% healthy and ready to return to a full-time role in 2020. The question for the Yankees is, do they bring him back on a multi-year deal or let him walk and move Torres into his natural position, where he struggled earlier in the year.
Torres’ progression makes the most sense, considering he’s the future at shortstop, but having DJ LeMahieu available for one more year makes that switch a bit less pressing. Ideally, LeMahieu would play his preferred second-base, and Gleyber would begin his tenure at short, but Gregorius offers a lot more than just production in the field — he’s an icon for the fan-base and leader on the team.
There isn’t much talent on the free-agent market for the Yankees:
The current shortstop market is stripped clean of any skill greater than or equal to Gregorius’. Adeiny Hechavarria, Jose Iglesias, Jordy Mercer, or Chris Owings headline the top options behind the lefty hitter.
Ultimately, it boils down to a decision in the infield — is Torres ready to make the jump to short? If he is, there’s no need for Didi on the roster, but if Cashman prefers quality depth, the answer should be simple. Signing him to a one-year deal in the $13-14 million range could be the answer, as the Yankees likely believed he would accept the qualifying offer, which was too expensive for the value he brings to the team.