The Yankees are either rolling the dice in a risky game, or the shunning of Didi Gregorius is real and with no logic.
With logic and reason, the Yankees did not file a qualifying offer worth $18 million to Didi Gregorius to accept or refuse.
The baseball universe agrees Gregorius’s value, though high, does not reach that level.
But from that point forward, the Yankees conduct is difficult, given the team’s ability to engage the services of Gregorius as a subsequent free-agent on an equal basis with 29 other teams in the league.
The Yankees plan and its flaws
The Yankees say – hey, no problem. Without Gregorius, we can move Gleyber Torres over to shortstop, and that opens up a permanent spot for DJ LeMahieu at second base.
But not addressed in that very public plan is the fact that Torres, LeMahieu, and Didi Gregorius on the field at the same time make the Yankees a far better team that one without Gregorius.
Perhaps, the Yankees are waiting back until the elaborate expense to pay Gerrit Cole is decided.
Hal Steinbrenner has indicated he will consider the Yankees superseding the $248 million luxury tax threshold for 2020.
But it’s not like he is eagerly waiting to leap. But in the meantime, other teams like the Cincinnati Reds are reportedly making overtures to Didi Gregorius.
This, while reports from the Winter Meetings in San Diego indicate an acceleration of interest in Gregorius. Why would anyone be surprised?
Didi Gregorius: A wounded warrior
Didi Gregorius had a tough year in 2019. Limited to 82 games due to rehab from a shoulder operation, Gregorius was truely – a mere shadow of himself when he came back in the second half.
It was noticeable by fans and the Yankees brass. And it probably had some influence in the Yankees decision to not be more aggressive in the process as Gregorius mulls his future in the game.
Meanwhile, Yankees fans recall this is the player who stepped into the shoes of Yankee’s icon Derek Jeter.
Gregorius is also the player (check his stats) who has increased not only those sacred numbers but his intangible value to the team.
In a column written earlier today, I wrote about the availability of Addison Russell as a stopgap to keep Gleyber Torres at second base where he belongs.
There should be no need for the Yankees to consider signing Russell – if only the team reverses, allotting a portion of their payroll to Gregorius.
Yankees: Didi Gregorius “completing” the team
This ensures the continuity of the Yankees infield that walked their way to winning 103 games last year.
Nowhere are there reports of any conflict or fielding liabilities of the Torres/Gregorius team in the middle of the Yankees infield.
Add to all of this that Didi Gregorius is a left-handed batter in a line-up that is decidedly right-handed.
Add in his knack for finding the Short Porch at Yankee Stadium at critical points in a game.
Except that the Yankees and Brian Cashman are not stupid. They have no reason to hold a grudge toward Gregorius, and there is nothing on his resume suggesting he is a negative in the clubhouse.
If anything, the opposite is accurate, and Gregorius has made a point of freely giving of his time to charity organizations throughout New York City.
If the Yankees are willing to blow by the luxury tax threshold to secure Gerrit Cole and later Brett Gardner, then they should be able and prepared to go all the way by ensuring Didi Gregorius is brought back into the fold.
Anything less negates the Yankee’s insistence they will always put the best team they can on the field. A team without Didi Gregorius is not that best team…