The Cincinnati Reds have a need at the shortstop position. They’ve publicly stated that they are looking for a shortstop for the 2021 season. And the current market for shortstops is pretty deep when considering the free agent and alleged trade market. One player in the free agent market is former Red Didi Gregorius. He was on the radio in Cincinnati with Lance McAlister on 700 WLW and confirmed that the Reds have contacted his agent this offseason.
“I’m open to listen to anything, so that’s the thing,” said Gregorius. “I’ll listen and see what they have to offer.”
Didi Gregorius hit .277/.326/.486 in 2017 and 2018 for the New York Yankees. He wound up having Tommy John surgery following the season. When he returned in 2019 in June he struggled to really get going at the plate and in his 82 games played during the year he hit just .238/.276/.441. The power was there, but that was about it as his plate discipline numbers took a big step backwards, as did his average. But in 2020, granted just a 60 game stretch due to the abbreviated season, he looked like the hitter that was playing for the Yankees in 2017 and 2018. Now with the Philadelphia Phillies, Gregorius hit .284/.339/.488 with 15 walks and 28 strikeouts.
Right as the offseason began, MLB Trade Rumors published their projected contracts and teams likely to sign each player. Gregorius was projected for a 3-year and $39M deal with the Cincinnati Reds. We have no idea if that’s actually the market, overselling the market, or possibly underselling the market. That kind of contract, though, would take Gregorius through his age 33 season.
Perhaps Cincinnati wouldn’t like to go three years on any shortstop given where they stand with their belief in Jose Garcia. He, though, is still probably at least a year away from being ready to play every day in the Major Leagues. His glove is clearly ready now, but if what we saw at the plate in 2020 when he hit .194/.206/.194 in 67 at-bats tells us anything, it’s that he likely needs some more time against advanced pitching in the minors before he’s ready to hit big league pitching enough to pencil into the lineup every day. There’s nothing wrong with that – he’s 22-years-old and there’s a lot of time for him in his career. Still, if the Reds believe he’s going to be ready in about a year, then a 3-year contract for a shortstop might be a bit too rich for their blood.
Of course there are some other options on the market, too. Free agents Andrelton Simmons and Marcus Semien are also there for negotiations. The trade market reportedly includes stars Trevor Story and Francisco Lindor, too. Cincinnati’s front office has some options if they are willing to pay the price.