The Phillies announced a series of roster moves prior to tonight’s game. Deadline pickups Noah Syndergaard and Brandon Marsh have been activated. Pitcher Kyle Gibson has been reinstated from the bereavement list with infielder Jean Segura being activated from the 60-day injured list. Three spots on the active roster were created after last night’s game, with right-hander Mark Appelleft-hander Bailey Falter and outfielder Simon Muzziotti all getting optioned. To create space on both the active and 40-man rosters for Segura, they have released infielder Didi Gregorius.
Gregorius, 32, is perhaps best known for the five-year stretch with the Yankees he had from 2015 to 2019. In that time, he played 660 games, hitting 97 home runs, stealing 27 bases and slashing .269/.313/. 446 for a 101 wRC+.
After reaching free agency, he signed a one-year, $14MM deal with the Phillies for 2020, going on to hit 10 homers in the shortened season and producing an overall line of .284/.339/.488, 116 wRC+. After that successful campaign in Philly, the two sides re-upped on a two-year, $28MM deal that unfortunately preceded an incredible downfall in the shortstop’s production.
Last season, Gregorius hit a miserable .209/.270/.370, 68 wRC+, meaning his production was 32% worse than the league average hitter. After that dismal campaign, his grasp on the shortstop position for 2022 seemed tenuous at best. Philadelphia’s president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski publicly admitted as much in October.
Although there was a superstar class of shortstops available in free agency this winter (Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Javier Baez, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien), the Phils focused on upgrading their outfield, adding Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos. Although apparently losing faith in Gregorius, they felt they had a potential in-house solution at shortstop with prospect Bryson Stott.
Stott cracked the Opening Day Roster and seemed to be in a bit of a competition for infield playing time next to second baseman Jean Segura. With both Gregorious and third baseman Alec Bohm having down years in 2021, Stott was given time at various infield positions to start the year. However, he quarreled out of the gate, getting optioned back to the minors April 25. At that time, he was hitting just .133/.161/.167. Those struggles seemed to give Gregorious and Bohm more time to get back on track.
In May, Stott was recalled, which was followed a few weeks later by Segura fracturing his finger, opening up the infield for all three of Stott, Gregorius and Bohm. In that time, Stott and Bohm have improved after sluggish starts while Didi simply has not. Since June 1, Stott has hit seven homers and is slashing .227/.296/.384. That’s still below average production (90 wRC+), but it comes despite a .222 batting average on balls in play. Bohm, meanwhile, scuffled through June but had a monster July, hitting .405/.427/.583 since that month began. Gregorius had an okay start to the year, hitting .288/.338/.356 through May for a wRC+ of 96, but has slashed .181/.234/.284 since, wRC+ of just 42 since the start of June and 57 on the season overall. With Segura’s return and Bohm and Stott looking like better options, the Phils decided to was time to move on from Gregorius as they gear up for a pennant race over the final two months of the season.
Gregorius is making $15.25MM this year as part of that two-year deal he signed, leaving around $5MM left to be paid out. Any team that signs him at that point would only have to pay him the prorated league minimum with the Phillies on the hook for the remainder.