Phillies able to run back Didi Gregorius and J.T. Realmuto
The Phillies haven’t been to the playoffs since 2011, the last in a stretch of five consecutive October runs that included the franchise’s second World Series title in 2008, but Philadelphia could be positioned to make a move up the National League East after bringing back their top two free agents, Gregorius and catcher T.J. Realmuto, who signed earlier this week.
Combining the returning free agents with a lineup that also includes former MVP Bryce Harper, slugger Rhys Hoskins, veteran Andrew McCutchen and 2020 Rookie of the Year runner-up Alec Bohm could go a long way toward the Phillies improving on last season’s 28-32 finish.
That was only good for third in the NL East, behind the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins and not good enough for a postseason berth in the wild, wacky, let’s have the NBA playoffs in baseball during October.
Gregorius was solid in his first season in red pinstripes, bouncing back from a rough 2019 with the New York Yankees — as he was coming back from Tommy John surgery — to hit .284 with an OPS of .827, with 10 doubles, 10 home runs, 40 RBI and 34 runs scored in 237 plate appearances while playing in all 60 games.
For his career, Gregorius has been steady at the plate, hitting .265 with a .748 OPS in 911 career games and 3,619 plate appearances. He has 120 home runs, with a career-high of 27 in 2018 with the Yankees.
The Phillies were thought to be competing with the Cincinnati Reds to get Gregorius. The Reds were his first organization after Gregorius signed with them in August 2007 as an international free agent from Curacao.
After making his major-league debut with Cincinnati in 2012, he was traded over the winter, going to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the three-way deal that sent Trevor Bauer to the Cleveland Indians and Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald to the Reds.
Two years later he was involved in another three-way swap, this time going to the Yankees, with Shane Greene going from the Bronx to the Detroit Tigers and Robbie Ray heading to the Diamondbacks from Motown.
In December 2019, Gregorius signed a one-year, $14 million free-agent deal with the Phillies and will now be returning for two more years as the same average annual value.