Phillies likely ‘big player’ for star SS next offseason
By Matt Rappa
The Philadelphia Phillies re-signed a star shortstop in free agency this offseason to a multi-year deal in Didi Gregorius — who last season hit .284 with 10 home runs, 40 RBI, 15 walks, and just 28 strikeouts while playing all 60 games.
Many thought that bringing back Gregorius would mean he would be with the team at least through the 2022 season, followed by a potential call up of top Phillies hitting prospect Bryson Stott as his long-term successor. According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Phillies might already have their sights set on other names who will start at the position as soon as 2022 — and it is not neither Gregorius nor Stott.
The Phillies might make a blockbuster free-agent SS signing next offseason.
“Teams seen as likely to become big players for star shortstop Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa and/or Javier Baez — should they become free agents after the season — include the Rangers, Giants and Phillies,” Heyman reports.
While Gregorius has primarily been a shortstop in his career, he does have experience playing second base in the majors. In 2014, while with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the veteran logged 79 2/3 innings at the position and committed only one error across 40 chances for a .975 fielding percentage.
Current second baseman Jean Segura is under contract through 2022, and has a $1 million buyout for the 2023 season. The Phillies could look to trade Segura between now and a potential blockbuster signing, as he was reportedly involved in the trade rumor mill this past offseason with the Toronto Blue Jays — before they signed Marcus Semien.
The Phillies will have some salary coming off the books, including outfielder Andrew McCutchen, who enters the final season of his three-year deal.
A 2022 Phillies infield with any of the five above star potential free-agents, coupled with Alec Bohm at third base, Gregorius at second, and Rhys Hoskins at first, would be huge. Signing perennial All-Star Lindor would be especially impactful, considering their division-rival New York Mets just acquired him from the Cleveland Indians via trade.
A lot can change from now and next offseason. Hopefully, the team’s first postseason appearance since 2011 falls in between.