Phillies: Does Didi Gregorius deserve an extension as well?
Re-signing J.T. Realmuto may be the Phillies’ focal point this offseason, but does Didi Gregorius deserve similar consideration?
In the first few weeks of the season, J.T. Realmuto was carrying the offense. Realmuto belted eight home runs and drove in 20 runs in the first 14 games of the season, despite the Phillies slow 6-8 start. However, in the Phillies’ most recent hot streak, where they won 10 of 11 games, Realmuto struggled, hitting .163 with 15 strikeouts. In that same stretch, Didi Gregorius reached base 17 times, scored 10 runs, and tallied six extra-base hits.
Of course, everyone wants to still re-sign J.T. and general manager Matt Klentak should as soon as possible. But, what about their other impending free agent Gregorius?
Gregorius, who has been to the postseason four times, signed with the Phillies in mid-December reuniting with manager Joe Girardi. Known for his leadership and powerful bat, Didi has been worth every penny so far in the shortened 60-game season.
While the Phillies sitting right behind the Atlanta Braves in the division, Gregorius has provided some serious offense out of the shortstop position that the Phillies haven’t seen since Jimmy Rollins. Freddy Galvis and Scott Kingery were not even close, particularly in the strikeout column. He acts as a real threat behind the Hoskins-Harper-Realmuto trio, something that the 2019 team lacked.
Simply put, Gregorius is a pure veteran at the dish. He offers great at-bats and is aggressive with runners in scoring position. He ranks third on the Phillies in runs batted in and leads the team in hits. In terms of shortstops across the league, he has the lowest strikeout percentage and ranks top-6 in home runs, runs batted in, and runs scored.
Believe it or not, the current Phillies lineup could win a World Series. Ranking 4th in Major League Baseball in team on-base percentage and top-10 in batting average, while scoring 5 runs or more in 23 of their 39 games. For example, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who own the best record in baseball, have scored 5 or more runs 28 times in 44 games.
This offense would not totally fall off without Gregorius. But, it would be safe to say the Phillies would be under .500 without him this season. He has come through in big moments for the Phillies and offers a big middle-of-the-order bat, almost certainly deserving an extension.