In a moment that came as a shock to many fans, the Philadelphia Phillies announced on Thursday that they have released shortstop Didi Gregorius. Gregorius originally signed a three-year contract with the Phillies going into 2020 and is set to make $15.25 million on the season.
In addition, the Phillies have announced that Brandon Marsh and Noah Syndergaard have reported to the club, Jean Segura has been reinstated from the 60-day Injured List, and Kyle Gibson has returned from the bereavement list.
The end of a rollercoaster for Didi Gregorius
Didi Gregorius, then 30-years old, made a big splash in the shortened 2020 season with the Phillies. Fresh off a six-year stretch in New York where he was looked at as Derek Jeter’s replacement, Gregorius played in all 60 games for the Phillies on the year, batting .284 with 10 home runs while earning a strong 120 OPS+.
Since 2020, however, Gregorius has struggled. In 166 games played over the past two seasons, Gregorius has managed only a .210 batting average. While the game of baseball has veered away from the days of high batting averages, it typically comes with an increase in power and home run output. This has not been the case with Gergorius, who has hit only 14 home runs over the stretch.
Recently, the shortstop has proven ineffective. As the Phillies have reentered playoff contention over the past month, Gregorius has not been an integral piece. Over his last 21 games, Gregorius owns a paltry .128/.151/.200 slash line.
What the Move Means for the Phillies
Gregorius now joins the ranks of Odubel Herrera and Jeurys Familia as recent Phillies players to be released. Combined, the Phillies had committed $23 million to the players this season. Dave Dombrowski appears to be sending a message to the rest of the Majors: the Phillies are not settling for mediocrity.
Specifically, in the case of Didi Gregorius, the Phillies needed to make a move in the infield as Jean Segura returns from the Injured List. The Phillies also currently roster Bryson Stott, Yairo Munoz, and Edmundo Sosa as well as having recently relegated Johan Camargo to AAA.
The move paves the way for 24-year old Bryson Stott to claim the starting shortstop job moving forward. The rookie has had his ups and downs on the season, batting .196 with a .576 OPS overall. Now, the Phillies will be able to start the young Las Vegas native every day, giving him consistency at shortstop as well as a chance to prove his worth.
Now 32, Sir Didi of Amsterdam will begin his next chapter as he looks to get picked up by another team in need of a shortstop. He joins, notably, Jackie Bradley Jr. who was also released by the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.
The Phillies, meanwhile, go into their series with the Washington Nationals having placed all of their bets on the success of Bryson Stott at shortstop.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky