Some New York Yankees fans are hoping for a reunion with shortstop Didi Gregorius for the 2021 season. It’s very unlikely that will happen.
However, as implied by George A. King III of the NY Post, the Yankees have competition for the player they probably aren’t actually pursuing.
King claims that the Los Angeles Angels have emerged as contenders for Gregorius’ services. But there won’t be a bidding war. The Yankees are clearly committed to bringing DJ LeMahieu back and keeping Gleyber Torres at shortstop.
With regards to Torres, Cashman stated “He’s currently our shortstop. We think he’s capable of better defense.”
And this clearly frames the problem for the Yankees. Gleyber Torres is a bad defensive shortstop. He finished the 2020 season with a -4 OAA in his first year as the full-time shortstop. And with a packed infield, they really don’t have anywhere else to put him unless LeMahieu walks and second opens up.
And even if they could move Torres back to second, Gregorius is far from the best alternative. Widely regarded as a premium defensive shortstop by Yankee fans, Gregorius simply hasn’t been. In 2019, while admittedly recovering from Tommy John surgery, he posted a -19 OAA at shortstop. And fully healthy in 2020, he still posted a -1 OAA.
Offensively, Gregorius has taken a huge step back. In 2020, he ranked in the bottom 2% of the league in average exit velocity at 83.9 mph, and in the bottom 8% of the league in hard hit rate at 27.9%. And that’s not just post-Tommy John regression. In fact, the 2019 season saw the highest average exit velocity for Gregorius at 88.2 mph.
To sum it up, the New York Yankees are better off keeping Gleyber Torres at shortstop rather than bringing Didi Gregorius back. He’s a lefty bat and a fan favorite, but the best years of his career are more than likely behind him. The Yankees should just focus on re-signing DJ LeMahieu and deal with Torres’ defensive shortcomings in favor of his offensive potential. Let the Angels go after Gregorius without a fight.