Didi Gregorius signs with the Phillies
The Phillies did not make the postseason in 2020, but they are still deciding to mostly run things back for the 2021 season. And, to be fair, it’s not a ridiculous idea. They’ve improved the bullpen a bit, and that unit basically single-handedly kept them out of October as they were one of the worst relief corps at least in recent baseball history, if not all of baseball history. Just being regular old bad would have been enough to keep them in the postseason. And so, as everyone expected, they brought J.T. Realmuto back to catch, and now they have brought back another familiar face. This time it’s Didi Gregorius, who signed a two-year deal worth $28 million with the Phillies on Saturday.
Gregorius fills a bit hole up the middle for the Phillies that has needed addressing all winter. They had Jean Segura and Scott Kingery already on the roster, both of whom can play the middle infield but the latter can also play center field. With Gregorius in tow, that’s where Kingery will almost certainly be playing most of the time. And as for Gregorius himself, well Red Sox fans are plenty familiar from his Yankee days. Personally, he’s one of my favorite players in the game to watch, as he’s a high-energy shortstop who can play good defense and has surprising pop to the pull side at the plate. Last season he his .284/.339/.488 for a 117 wRC+.
As for the effect on the Red Sox, it’s nothing massive. Gregorius was someone I would have liked to have seen them consider as an out of the box second base candidate, but who knows if he would have gone for that and that never appeared to be something they were considering. So there was really no use for Gregorius in Boston. However, this does likely take Philly out of the Jackie Bradley Jr. running with Kingery shifting to center field. The Mets have always seemed like the biggest competition either way, and I’m not sure how the Red Sox swing it with Bradley in their budget without a trade, but this does appear to make the competition that much lighter at least.
White Sox sign Carlos Rodón
Speaking of bringing back old friends, the White Sox have decided to bring back former first round pick Carlos Rodón to compete for a spot in the back of their rotation. The lefty received a one-year deal worth $3 million.
Rodón was the third overall pick by the White Sox back in 2014, but he has never really been able to figure things out at the major-league level. The southpaw came up in 2015 and looked good over 23 starts with a 3.75 ERA that season, but that number has increased with each passing year, culminating in marks of 5.19 and 8.22 over the last two seasons, albeit with both coming in small sample sizes. At times he’s been able to miss bats, but the consistency of his command has just never fully developed. Now 28 years old, this could be his last chance in a rotation. He’s expected to start the year as the fifth starter in Chicago with former Red Sox prospect Michael Kopech waiting in the wings after recovering from Tommy John surgery.