Phillies: Three moves that might help a very bad situation

Gregorius is ready for a big 2020 with bat and glove for the Phillies. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images.
Gregorius is ready for a big 2020 with bat and glove for the Phillies. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images. /
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(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Move Number 2

Again, John Middleton is apparently annoyed about the non-development of players by the Phillies in the minors, and the team’s attendant need to sign or trade for players since that development isn’t occurring. But since there was literally no minor-league baseball last year, this complaint is a bit like whining about the girlfriend you broke up with last year – or five years ago.

This isn’t the year for the Phillies to refuse entirely to consider free agents or trades. If they’re not going to re-sign Realmuto, the Phils must go to the second most important position on the field – shortstop. In Little League we all observed that short went to the best player on the team (when he wasn’t pitching). At the MLB level, the position is just as important, arguably the most important position assuming you don’t have a best-in-MLB player elsewhere on the field. The Phillies need to re-sign Didi Gregorius.

And hey, John Middleton, Gregorius actually played for the Phillies last year – and very well, leading the team in RBI and games played – all 60. Every third day the masked shortstop didn’t drive in a run (on average); the two days before that statistical day, he did, exactly one a day.

In 2020, Gregorius’ contract called for $14 million for one year, which of course, he did not entirely collect. This contract was generous because the player was a bit of an unknown quantity last winter, a guy turning 30 who had posted weak ’19 figures since he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.

However, Gregorius went for the one-year deal, no doubt in part, to re-unite with Joe Girardi, who managed him three years with the Yankees. And thus, as much as any Phillies player thrived in ’20, Gregorius thrived, driving up his batting average 46 points from the previous year and his OPS 109 points.

Interestingly, although Gregorius’ 40 RBI led the Phillies last summer, in the previous year he actually drove in more runs per games played despite hitting .238, registering an RBI in nearly three out of four contests. However, he did deposit some impressive rockets in the empty seats behind right field at Citizens Bank Park in ’20. If this is a player who is consciously paying attention to launch angles, that isn’t hurting him.

Offer him $11 million, $12 million, and $15 million for the next three years. It doesn’t matter how Middleton manages that. He should. Baseball Reference’s projection of 55 RBI for Gregorius next season is too low.