A Closer Look at Shortstop Options for the Phillies in 2021
**UPDATE JANUARY 26 | 9:30PM**
Realmuto back in Philly. Didi is as good as ours!
The ice on the free agent market for big name free agents has finally begun to crack. Over the last few weeks, DJ LeMahieu has re-signed with the Yankees and George Springer is heading to Toronto to join the Blue Jays. I’m sure everyone is keeping an eye on any and all news regarding JT Realmuto. The Phillies currently have an offer on the table ranging in the $110 million dollar range to bring back the best catcher in baseball to Philadelphia.
The shortstop position should be an even easier position to fill for the Phillies given the fact that Didi Gregorius is still available. Rumors continue to fly about who the Phillies are actually interested in signing for the 2021 season and at what length the said contract will be . The ball club has been linked to Gregorius, Marcus Semien, Freddy Galvis, and now Andrelton Simmons.
Reports state that the Phillies are looking for a shortstop that is comfortable with taking a one-year deal, which could be the reason why we don’t have Didi Gregorius back in Philadelphia already. Following this season, the market for free agent shortstops will be extremely crowded with several “tier one” shortstops currently set to be available. Any of the shortstops linked to the Phillies could be concerned about the market in 2022 and hesitant to move forward with a one-year deal.
The good news about the Phillies looking for a one-year deal from a shortstop is the fact that they must have confidence in their stop prospect Bryson Stott. The 2019 first-round pick is said to be “Major League ready” following this season in 2022. Stott shined in his first professional season shortly after being drafted, slashing .295/.391/.494 with nine doubles, three triples, six home runs, 27 RBI, 24 walks, and just 39 strikeouts spanning 48 games and 193 plate appearances.
Back to the issue at hand for the 2021 season, here are the shortstops currently being considered for the Phillies.
The search for a shortstop should start and end with Didi Gregorius. He was fantastic for the Phillies last year, playing in all 60 games and slashing .284/.339/.488. He had 10 home runs and 40 RBI while only striking out 28 times. Didi and Alec Bohm proved to be the most clutch hitters for the Phillies in 2020 and his left-handed bat was a perfect addition to the lineup.
If the Phillies can strike a deal with Gregorius ranging in the two-years, $20-$30 million dollar range, they should absolutely jump on it. That deal should be enticing enough for Didi, which would make him a free agent at the age of 32 and primed to land another two or three year contract assuming his offense and defense doesn’t falter over the next two years.
Even with Stott waiting to make the jump to the MLB, getting Gregorius on a two-year deal would be worth it.
2020 was definitely an off-year for Semien. He hit .223/305/.374 with seven home runs, 23 RBI, and four steals. In the playoffs however, Simien slashed .407/.484./.667 with two home runs and four RBI in seven games.
Last year was a mess for everyone. If you want to look at a strong sample size, jump back a year further where Semien slashed .285/.369/.522 with 33 home runs, 92 RBI, and 10 stolen bases. The season itself was obviously a career best for Semien and probably a bit higher than what we could expect from him moving forward. He has only hit more than 15 home runs and 70 RBI twice over his career.
Not counting the 2020 season, Galvis has had four straight seasons of double-digit home runs and 60+ runs batted in. Including a 2019 campaign where he hit 23 homers and drove in 70 runs (both career-highs).
Another thing Galvis brings is flexibility. He is typically a middle infielder but has also seen some playing time in the outfield. This could come in handy if the Phillies were to go through injury woes.
In 30 games last year, Simmons slashed .297/.346/.356 as a member of the Los Angeles Angels. He opted out due to COVID-19 concerns. Offensively Simmons is not really impressive. Defensively, he’s a four time gold glove winner. In 2017, Simmons finished eighth in the MVP race after putting up 38 doubles, 14 home runs, 69 RBI, 19 stolen bases, 47 walks and just 67 strikeouts across 158 games and 647 plate appearances.
All things considered, I am still in the re-sign Didi Gregorius camp as long as it can come on a one or two year contract. I like him better than any other name that has been floated around to fill the position for the Phillies in 2021. As dominoes continue to fall around the MLB, I would expect the Phillies to begin to make some moves, but don’t hold your breath.
Don’t Forget: The Phillies also need to add starting pitching and bullpen depth before spring training, which is scheduled to begin just three weeks from today.