The Phillies agreed to terms on a one-year, $14 million deal with free-agent shortstop Didi Gregorius on Tuesday, as first reported by Joel Sherman.
Gregorius, 29, expanded his offensive game over the past five seasons with the Yankees to become much more than a defensive specialist in the middle infield. He underwent Tommy John surgery after the 2018 season, though, which cut short his contract year in New York and likely chipped away at his market value.
Still, Gregorius figures to be a short-term asset for a Phillies team desperate to ascend from mediocrity in 2020. Fellow shortstop Jean Segura, signed to a long-term deal in Philadelphia, is now expected to shift to second base. Segura said earlier this offseason he was open to the swap.
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Because longtime Phillies infielder Cesar Hernandez was non-tendered, the club had a vacancy at second Segura could easily slide into. Scott Kingery, who also has experience as a middle-infielder, is anticipated to be used more at third base and center field than second given his proven versatility.
Gregorius’ career slash line of .264/.313/.429 and OPS+ of 99 belies how good of a hitter he has become in recent years. He slashed .268/.335/.494 with a 124 OPS+ in a career-best 2018 season, and that bat production lifted his bWAR to 4.3 for the campaign. After an injury-shortened 2019, he will try to return to that form at Citizens Bank Park.
Segura, meanwhile, should be an elite defensive second baseman if he indeed moves over there given his solid play at shortstop in recent years.