Yankees could bring back fan-favorite shortstop as stopgap

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius
Oct 17, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) reacts after hitting a single during the second inning against the Houston Astros in game four of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have been reportedly monitoring the shortstop market this off-season as they wait for the astronomical price tags of several players to decrease. General manager Brian Cashman has had a positive experience waiting patiently for the right option to reveal themselves, and that often comes with a reduced price.

However, even the second-tier options like Marcus Semien are asking for a boatload of money, so Cashman could look to take a more cost-efficient route this off-season instead of targeting one of the biggest names on the market. In fact, trading for a familiar face might not be a terrible idea.

Former Yankee Didi Gregorius spent last season with the Philadelphia Phillies, hitting .209 with 13 homers and 54 RBIs. This was by far his worst season to date, but his performance may open the door for the Bombers to swoop in and acquire him at a lesser cost.

The Athletic stated that the Phillies may be willing to trade Didi Gregorius after a tough 2021 season:

After his poor, injury-filled 2021 season, the Phillies might be willing to chalk that up as a mistake and shed as much of the $14 million left on his contract as possible. His defense has slipped below average at age 32, but Gregorius is one season removed from an .827 OPS and has a track record of 25-homer power.

Gregorius signed a two-year, $28 million deal in 2021, and given he’s owed $14.5 million in base salary this upcoming season, the Phillies could look to eat some of his cap hit and trade him to a different team.

Didi is only one year removed from hitting .284 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs back in 2020. He posted a .968 fielding percentage during that season with seven errors over 470 innings. Gregorius represents an average defender with a solid lefty bad, and as a fan favorite, it is not out of this realm that Cashman could inquire about his services once again.

Relying on Didi for a few seasons until the team’s star prospects are ready to make the jump could be a cost-efficient solution to a serious liability in the infield. However, it is not normal for this many star free agent shortstops to be available, and Cashman would hate to miss out on one of the top names and the opportunity to plug the vulnerability once and for all.