Phillies To Sign Didi Gregorius (

The Phillies are in agreement on a two-year deal with shortstop 

, reports Jayson Stark of the Athletic (Twitter link). It’s a $28MM guarantee, adds the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The deal contains deferrals, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).

Gregorius returns to Philadelphia after originally joining the Phils on a one-year deal last winter. That marked a prove-it deal of sorts after Gregorius struggled in 2019, and the veteran shortstop made good on the opportunity. He started 56 of the team’s 60 games at shortstop and hit a strong .284/.339/.488 with ten home runs over 237 plate appearances.

Given how well he performed in 2020, it makes sense the Phillies were happy to keep Gregorius in the fold. His return allows the club to keep Jean Segura at second base, where he played last season. That also keeps the Phils from having to pencil in Scott Kingery in an everyday role after he struggled through a brutal 2020. Corner infielders Rhys Hoskins and Alec Bohm can now flank the Gregorius-Segura pairing on the dirt.

Gregorius was often grouped with Marcus Semien and Andrelton Simmons at the top of this winter’s free agent market for established big league shortstops. All three agreed to terms this week, with Gregorius finding the most lucrative guarantee. Semien and Simmons each signed one-year deals (although Semien’s $18MM beats Gregorius’ $14MM average annual value), while Gregorius received a multi-year arrangement. However, his $28MM total figure comes in south of the MLBTR staff’s projection of $39MM over three years entering the offseason.

That could reflect teams’ trepidation over Gregorius’ batted ball metrics. His 83.8MPH average exit velocity last season ranked in just the second percentile league-wide. He was near the bottom of the league in hard contact rate and barrel rate, as well. Gregorius has never been one to hit the ball particularly hard, although his average exit velocity was closer to league average over his final two seasons with the Yankees.

More to come.

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