Phillies face tough decisions with 9 eligible free agents

J.T. Realmuto #10 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
J.T. Realmuto #10 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
3 of 6
Didi Gregorius #18 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /

6. Didi Gregorius

Outside of catcher J.T. Realmuto, whether the Phillies bring back Didi Gregorius is perhaps the second-biggest question mark for them this offseason. Still, the Phillies might not offer their All-Star-caliber shortstop an $18.9 million qualifying offer, all due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.’s Todd Zolecki says that the Phillies might not believe Gregorius will receive more than $18.9 million in free agency. “They could roll the dice and try to re-sign him for less,” Zolecki adds. “Every dollar counts this offseason.”

Following the 2020 season, Phillies Managing Partner John Middleton told reporters that he has “no idea” what the Phillies will be allowed to do in terms of fans attending games in 2021. “Obviously, that will determine our revenues, and revenues determine what you can do and what you can’t do,” Middleton said. A recent report revealed that the Phillies lost $186 million from not having fans attend games during the 2020 season.

On paper, it would be in the Phillies’ best interest to try to bring back Gregorius. This past season, the nine-year veteran slashed .284/.339/.488 with an even 10 doubles, 10 home runs, and 40 RBI. He played in all 60 games and started in the infield at the shortstop position in 56. In 2020, Gregorius also set Phillies franchise history, becoming the first shortstop to record two grand slams in a single season.

This combination of offense production and durability arguably has not been seen at the shortstop position for the Phillies since the playing days of franchise hits leader Jimmy Rollins.

5. Tommy Hunter

Tommy Hunter #96 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

Similar to Jay Bruce, right-handed reliever Tommy Hunter was often injured during his Phillies tenure. Over the past three seasons, he posted a combined 5-5 record and 3.64 ERA across 94 appearances, 12 of which finished a game. In those outings, he had a respectable 81-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.170 WHIP.  In 2020, however, Hunter posted an uncharacteristic 4.01 ERA, allowing 11 runs in 24 2/3 innings.

Hunter, 34, signed with the Phillies on a late-offseason minor-league pact prior to spring training in February. Whether the Phillies will choose to bring him back for a fourth season remains to be seen.