With the DJ LeMahieu still out on the open market, should the Yankees look to bring back long-time shortstop Didi Gregorius?
As we all know, the New York Yankees have a key free-agent that they’re trying to keep in Pinstripes in DJ LeMahieu. Unfortunately, there are rumors that this reunion may not come to fruition, possibly opening the door for another Yankee reunion: the return of Didi Gregorius.
Gregorius’ Yankees Departure
Gregorius left the Yankees following a 2019 season that began with Tommy John Surgery at the end of the 2018 season. In 82 games, Gregorius hit .238 with a .276 OBP. Gregorius was never a guy with a high on-base percentage, as his best season with the Yankees, OBP wise, was in 2018, where he packed a .335 mark. Regardless, Gregorius proved to be a staple of the New York Yankees, hitting for power (72 homers from 2016-2018) and having a 122 wRC+ in 2018.
After 2019, however, Gregorius signed a one-year pact with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he looked to up his value ahead of this offseason.
Gregorius bet on himself in 2020 by signing his one-year deal with Philly, and it looked like it worked out for the shortstop. Gregorius hit .284 with the best OBP of his career (.339). He hit 10 home runs in 60 games and packed a wRC+ of 116. Finally, Gregorius’ wOBA was .348, one of the best of his career.
With his strong bounce-back season, Gregorius potentially set himself up for a 2-3 year deal this winter.
Why the Yankees Shouldn’t Reunite with Him
Although the idea of bringing Gregorius back to the Bronx is nostalgic, it wouldn’t be the smart long-term play for the Bombers. Obviously, LeMahieu is the Yankees’ number one target, and he is far and away better than what Gregorius would offer in the middle infield.
However, even if LeMahieu didn’t return to the Yankees, New York still shouldn’t pursue Gregorius. Not to mention, there’s even skepticism on Gregorius’ side that the Yankees would like to bring the shortstop back to the Bronx. With next season’s free-agent class including the likes of Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager, and Carlos Correa, it would be much smarter for the Yankees that, if they lose LeMahieu, to sign someone on a short-term contract to bridge the team to next year’s free agency class.