The Phillies are reportedly “engaged in talks” with free-agent Yankees infielder Didi Gregorius, who is highly admired by his former manager Joe Girardi.
Now that the Philadelphia Phillies have inked RHP Zack Wheeler on a five-year deal, it appears their next focus is to address their infield.
In addition to Wheeler, the organization has also been recently “engaged in talks” with free-agent shortstop Didi Gregorius, “who is a favorite of new manager Joe Girardi,” according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury.
While the Phillies have been interested in Gregorius as early as mid-November, their interest has become even more intriguing, given the organization recently parted ways with their two longest-tenured players, both infielders in second baseman and Cesar Hernandez and third baseman Maikel Franco.
General Manager Matt Klentak recently told reporters that Hernandez and Franco’s departures “really does open up a spot on the dirt for a new acquisition.”
Gregorius, 29, would be versatile, in that he has major league experience at shortstop, second and third base. The Phillies currently have potential openings at all three positions; Scott Kingery is just as versatile and could assume one of the positions, and Jean Segura could either remain at short or play second base.
“[Gregorius is a] left-handed bat, power, plays an outstanding shortstop,” Girardi told reporters at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, adding that he is a “big fan” of his. “He can play second, as well. He’s a real character guy and he’s a real hard worker that is a really important clubhouse presence.”
Spanning eight seasons in the majors, including five most recently with the New York Yankees, he has slashed .264/.313/.429 with 145 doubles, 110 home runs, and 417 RBI spanning 851 games and 3,382 plate appearances.
The Amsterdam, Netherlands, native was coached by then-Yankees manager Girardi for three seasons, 2015 through 2017. Since then, the left-handed-hitter’s batting average fell from .287 in 2017, to .268 (2018) and .238 (2019).
Girardi added to reporters on Tuesday that he feels Gregorius was “important to the clubhouse in New York in what he brought every day.”:
“I’ve always been a big fan of Didi and what he’s been able to accomplish. You have to remember, I got him when he first came over and he was replacing a legend [Derek Jeter] and how difficult that was and to see the growth that he made was really pleasing to me.”
Now, Girardi and Gregorius could potentially reunite again in Philadelphia; given the two sides are reportedly engaged in talks, such a reunion could come as early as this week.