Didi Gregorius is going to sign with the Cincinnati Reds. Or at least that’s the prediction from Tim Dierkes, Steve Adams, and Connor Byrne of MLB Trade Rumors who published their Top 50 MLB Free Agent Predictions on Monday morning.
The Reds notably have an opening at shortstop. In 2020 they played with a combination of Freddy Galvis and Jose Garcia at the position. Galvis is a free agent and Garcia, while young and talented, likely could use another year in the minor leagues after hitting just .194/.206/.194 with one walk and 26 strikeouts in 24 games played.
MLB Trade Rumors, though, believes that Jose Garcia could get more than a year to get ready as they are predicting that the Cincinnati Reds will sign Didi Gregorius to a 3-year deal and $39,000,000. Assuming that all of the years are equal in salary, that’s $13M a year, which is less than he was paid last season. And with Gregorius, there’s no draft pick attached to signing him as the Philadelphia Phillies chose to not extend him a qualifying offer.
After a down 2019 season that saw him return from Tommy John surgery and struggle a bit at the plate (.718 OPS and an 87 OPS+), Gregorius returned to where he was in his breakout 2018 season. With the Phillies in 2020 he hit .284/.339/.488 with 15 walks and 28 strikeouts while playing in all 60 games for Philadelphia.
The projection systems aren’t all available now, with the 2020 season just coming to an end last week. But some of them are available. The Steamer Projections, available at Fangraphs, project Gregorius to hit .260/.318/.445 in the 2021 season.
Among the Top 50 free agents, Gregorius is the only one that the Reds are predicted to sign. But they are mentioned as likely looking at the other shortstops on the market. Marcus Semien is projected to sign with the Angels on a 1-year deal, with the Reds being listed among the other suitors. Andrelton Simmons is predicted to land with the New York Yankees on a 1-year deal and is also mentioned as a player the Reds could be contenders for.
It’s two other names, along with Gregorius, that the Reds are mentioned as potential landing spots, that could be the most interesting. J.T. Realmuto is projected to signed a 5-year deal with the Mets, but Cincinnati is among the teams listed as being other possibilities. With Tucker Barnhart, Curt Casali, and Tyler Stephenson, something would have to give in order for that one to make sense – but if the team could land Realmuto they can figure the rest of it out.
Opinions are a bit varied on Ha-Seong Kim, a Korean shortstop that will be posted this offseason. But the 25-year-old shortstop is projected to sign a 5-year deal with the Texas Rangers for a total price, including the posting fee, of just under $48,000,000 (other publications have his deal as little as half that). MLB Trade Rumors rates him as the 7th best free agent in the class and lists the Reds among several teams that could be in the mix.