After a down season in 2019, Didi Gregorius – the man behind the mask (more on that later) -spent the beginning of free agency waiting for the Yankees to offer him an extension.
Following a three-year stretch from 2016-18 which saw Didi average a stat line of .277, with 28 home runs and 94 RBIs, it seemed obvious he was on the path to a big pay day. But unfortunately in the 2018 Playoffs, Sir Didi injured his elbow and was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. Upon returning in 2019, Didi struggled slashing .238/.276/.441 with 16 home runs and 61 RBIs in 82 games.
Once it became clear that the Yankees were focused on signing Gerrit Cole, Didi decided to accept the only offer he received this past winter. A one-year, $14 Million dollar offer from the Phillies. While it was not the multi-year offer once envisioned for the shortstop, it still presented a good opportunity. This meant Didi would be joining a team who was desperate to win. It also presented the chance to reunite with Manager Joe Girardi who he played under for three seasons in New York.
The Masked Man
Now in Summer Camp, Gregorius has settled in nicely at shortstop for the Phillies; albeit with a new persona. He has announced that he will play this season while wearing a mask at all times on the field. This came after it was reported that Didi suffers from a chronic kidney disease which deemed him as a “High Risk” player. This, of course, means he could have opted out of this season and still received the money he is due to make. Instead, he has decided to play which is pretty damn awesome.
It doesn’t appear the mask is negatively effecting Didi at the plate. Although, maybe it has given him super powers? I don’t know. He absolutely mashed a three-run homer off of Max Scherzer last night. Whatever it is that’s going on, I am absolutely here for it.
If that swing is any indication of how this year may go, it could be a big one for Gregorius. He certainly looks healthy and that swing looks locked in. If that is the case, the Phillies may have struck gold bringing him in. It has also been reported Didi would be open to an extension with the Phillies. This could be a productive stop-gap option for the next few seasons until 2018 first round pick SS Bryson Stott makes his way to the big leagues. Either way, things are looking up for Didi and the Phils.
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