On the brink of 1,000 career hits, Didi Gregorius is no longer on the Phillies.
The Philadelphia Phillies sent shock waves across Major League Baseball on Thursday in advance of their four-game series opener against the Juan Soto-less Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.
Along with the news that the recently acquired center fielder Brandon Marsh and right-handed pitcher Noah Syndergaard have reported to the club — and starter Kyle Gibson has returned from the Bereavement List — the Phillies announced that infielder Jean Segura was reinstated from the 60-day injured list. In a corresponding and surprising move, the Phillies released veteran shortstop Didi Gregorius.
Last playing in May, Segura landed on the injured list when his right index finger was fractured while attempting to bunt for a hit. The 32-year-old was putting up good numbers at the time with four doubles, six home runs, eight stolen bases, and a .275/.324/.407 slash line.
When faced to choose between Segura and Gregorius, the former clearly was the easier decision for President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski. A former perennial power hitter, Gregorius logged just one home run, 19 RBI, and a .210/.263/.304 slash across 232 plate appearances this season.
The writing was on the wall for a significant cut in playing time for Gregorius once Segura returned, however, no one expected him to be released altogether. Gregorius is just one hit shy of 1,000 for his 11-year career — parts of five seasons of which he played under manager Joe Girardi as a member of the New York Yankees.
Gregorius’ playing time already saw a decline — in favor of rookie Bryson Stott — ever since Girardi was relieved of his duties as Phillies manager in early June. Rob Thomson has pushed for the younger players to receive more playing time, and Stott is no exception.
While Stott has also played a lot of second base, one thing has become clear: the Phillies releasing Gregorius on the same day that Segura returned means the organization is prioritizing Stott as the shortstop of the future.
As The Good Phight’s John Stolnis notes, the Phillies have eaten a lot of Major League salary in recent days — considering they also recently parted ways with reliever Jeurys Familia and outfielder Odúbel Herrera:
"About $5 million for Didi, about $2.5 million left for Familia, and around $580 grand for Herrera (doing rough prorated math in my head). That’s around $8 million combined."
The Citizens Bank Park atmosphere will surely be different in the final two months of the season. With the recent trade deadline additions and now the departure of Gregorius, we’ll miss hearing the shortstop’s iconic “Notorious B.I.G.” walk-up song at least a little bit. His Phillies career ends with 35 doubles, eight triples, 24 home runs, 113 RBI, and a .230 batting average across 226 games.