Following the J.T. Realmuto signing, the Phillies still have to figure out their shortstop position.
It was a great day when the Philadelphia Phillies re-signed J.T. Realmuto. But, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski still must figure out their shortstop position, among other areas of need.
The Phillies have been linked with multiple shortstops this offseason, among them Didi Gregorius, former MVP candidate Marcus Semien, and Gold Glove award winner Andrelton Simmons. Recently, however, Semien signed with the Toronto Blue Jays as they continue their offseason haul, and Simmons inked with the Minnesota Twins. That leaves Didi on the Phillies shortlist.
As reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Gregorius is looking for roughly $15 million a year, deservedly so after a strong campaign — which would have been easily affordable in a normal offseason.
In other moves at the position, the Phillies acquired C.J. Chatham from the Boston Red Sox this month. A draft pick during Dombrowski’s tenure in Boston, Chatham has a chance to prove his worth in spring training. The Phillies also drafted shortstop Kyle Holder in the Rule 5 draft from Joe Girardi‘s former organization, the New York Yankees. Both Chatham and Holder could be bench pieces on the team in 2021, but most likely won’t win the starting job.
As for who’s currently on the roster, Jean Segura and Scott Kingery are both under contract and could very well see time at shortstop. Bryson Stott, a Las Vegas product and the first-round Phillies draft pick from 2019, is also waiting in the wings.
What’s the best move for the organization? It would probably be best to re-sign Didi Gregorius. The Phillies offense was among the best in baseball last year. Now with a full season of Alec Bohm, keeping both J.T. and Didi, this year’s lineup could top last season’s loaded offense. A deal in the $12 million to 15 million range is most certainly fair, and affordable. Dombrowski should pull the trigger. But, one year is ideal. Here’s why:
The 2021 free-agent class is stacked with talent, specifically at the shortstop position. Imagine if Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, or Francisco Lindor signed with the Phillies? It is possible, and boy, would it be awesome. Whether fans admit it or not, the Phillies have spent a decent bit over the past few offseasons. If there is partial attendance at Citizens Bank Park this year, and revenue is churning better than last year, the Phillies could very well land one of those elite players. A one-year push for Didi to bridge us to another superstar? Almost every Phillies fan would sign up for that.
In this scenario, Stott could possibly slide to second base in 2022. Another option is trading Stott, one of the top Phils prospects, for a starting pitcher or position of need; which is something Dombrowski is used to in order to win — trading young talent for successful Major League players.
If the Phillies miss out on Didi, one could argue that Stott should become the starting shortstop on Opening Day. He will be 24 by October and there is no use waiting around. Either way, the Phils should move quickly if they want Gregorius. The Cincinnati Reds are also interested and it could simply come down to who pays more.