New York Yankees have three options for Didi Gregorius

Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The New York Yankees have some critical decisions to make at shortstop after declining the $17.8 million qualifying offer to Didi Gregorius.

The New York Yankees decided to deny Didi Gregorius the $17.8 million qualifying offer, which makes him a free agent without draft pick compensation if he decides to sign with another team.

The soon to be 30-year old has been with the Yankees since coming over via trade back in 2014 and has been everything the Yankees could’ve asked for in a guy who was replacing a Yankees legend in Derek Jeter.

In five seasons with New York, Gregorius has a career slash line of .269/.313/.446 totaling 97 home runs and 360 RBI’s.

His best season was 2018, where he played in 134 games and had a .268/.335/.494 slash line while hitting 27 home runs and accumulating 86 RBI’s.

Gregorius has always been a superb defender and was brought over to the Yankees because of his defense. In eight seasons at shortstop, Gregorius has a .979 fielding percentage.

My favorite Gregorius memory was back in the 2017 AL Wild Card Game, where he hit the dramatic game-tying 3-run home run to tie the game in the bottom of the first inning.

What should the Yankees do at shortstop? It seems like they have three viable options:

Resign Didi Gregorius

The Yankees can still resign Gregorius to a one-year, $10 million deal. A kind of “show me what you have” type of deal since he did miss a good portion of the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery he had back in 2018.

Maybe the Yankees decide to sign Gregorius to a multi-year deal to lock him up. His stock won’t ever be as low as it is now, and perhaps their thinking is that if they offer him the qualifying offer and he takes it and performs well in 2020, then his price tag will go up next offseason.

Let Didi walk

The Yankees do have options internally if they decide to let Gregorius walk in free agency. They could very easily slide Gleyber Torres over to shortstop and have DJ LeMahieu play second base.

Torres is a natural shortstop, so the move shouldn’t be out of the norm for him, and LeMahieu has played 967 games at second base in his career, so that’s his most comfortable position. Both Torres and LeMahieu had stellar 2019 campaigns so that the Yankees won’t be losing much in production.

Trade for Francisco Lindor

I think this is the most unlikely scenario but a fun one to discuss nonetheless. Francisco Lindor is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022 and has reportedly turned down a contract extension back in 2017. It’s clear Lindor is looking to cash out once he hits free agency, so perhaps the Yankees can take advantage of this situation if they decide to let Gregorius walk in free agency.

Since losing in the 2016 World Series, it seems like the Indians have slowly been getting worse while their division foe, the Minnesota Twins have gotten better. Cleveland followed a World Series appearance by losing in the 2017 ALDS in five games to New York, then got swept in the 2018 ALDS by Houston and missed the playoffs altogether in 2019.

Maybe the Indians realize that they have not been able to win with Lindor, so instead of resigning him to a $300 million extension or letting him leave in free agency for nothing, they look to trade him and get an excellent package in return.

If I’m the Yankees, this is the last thing I do because I instead use that money for a starting pitcher and don’t forget; eventually, they are going to have to pay Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Torres and I’m sure they’re going to want to lock up LeMahieu long term.

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We’ll see what Brian Cashman decides to do this offseason for their shortstop situation. If I’m Cashman, I offer Gregorius a one-year deal, and if he turns that down, then I’m moving Torres to shortstop and LeMahieu to second base.