Joe Girardi

Free agent Didi Gregorius has a big fan in Phillies manager Joe Girardi

Free agent Didi Gregorius has a big fan in Phillies manager Joe Girardi

New Phillies manager Joe Girardi did not hide his affection for Didi Gregorius when asked about the free-agent shortstop and potential future Phillie on Tuesday night.

“He’s a treat to be around,” said Girardi, who managed Gregorius with the New York Yankees from 2015-2017. “He brings a smile every day and works extremely hard. He’s a very talented player. I think there’s 30 teams that would love Didi’s services.”

The Phillies’ infield is in flux after the team cut ties with second baseman Cesar Hernandez and third baseman Maikel Franco on Monday. One way to revamp the unit would be to sign Gregorius to play shortstop and move Jean Segura to second or third. Versatile Scott Kingery would fill the remaining position.

“Having non-tendered Cesar and Maikel as we did, that really does open up a spot on the dirt for a new acquisition,” general manager Matt Klentak said. “We've been exploring that and we will continue to explore that.”

Girardi described himself as a “big fan” of Gregorius, who turns 30 in February.

And what could Gregorius bring to the Phillies?

“Left-handed bat, power, plays an outstanding shortstop,” Girardi said. “He can play second, as well. He’s a real character guy and he’s a real hard worker that is a really important clubhouse presence. I felt that he was important to the clubhouse in New York in what he brought every day. I’ve always been a big fan of Didi and what he’s been able to accomplish. You have to remember, I got him when he first came over and he was replacing a legend (Derek Jeter) and how difficult that was and to see the growth that he made was really pleasing to me.”

Gregorius hit .277 with a .791 OPS and averaged 24 homers and 81 RBIs with the Yankees from 2016-2018. He played only a half-season as he recovered from elbow surgery in 2019. He hit just .238 but had 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 324 at-bats. The Yankees do have interest in re-signing Gregorius, who was popular with teammates and fans, but at the right price. If the Yanks don’t re-sign Gregorius, they could use Gleyber Torres at shortstop or pursue a free agent who won’t cost as much as Gregorius, who made $11.75 million last year and is seeking a multi-year deal. Gregorius did not receive a $17.8 million qualifying offer from the Yankees so the Phils would not have to forfeit a draft pick to sign him.

The Phillies and Yankees have something in common in that they have both prioritized adding starting pitching this winter and need to budget toward that cause. All this raises the question of whether the Phillies will be able to add the multiples of quality starting pitching that they need if they spend significant dollars on a shortstop.

“I think there are a lot of different directions we can go,” Klentak said. “Obviously, that's a balancing act. Any resources we devote to the offensive side will take away the resources we have to spend on the pitching side. So we have to balance that as well as we can.”

Klentak said he has been in touch with “a lot of agents” who represent free agents and he’s spoken to “a bunch of teams” about trades. He would not say if he’s made any offers to big-league free agents, but it’s December and the winter meetings start next week so of course he has.

“It’s been a slow-moving market,” he said. “We'll continue to have that dialogue. I expect those conversations will continue through this week and likely into the winter meetings.”

Girardi has been in contact with several free agents.

“I have talked to some free agents as we have been in this process,” he said. “Pitching has been a focus for us.

“I feel good about what we’re doing. It’s not just the pitching that we’re trying to address. We’ve talked about a lot of different things. When you start to talk about spending money on free agents, it’s the combination of free agents that is important. If you’re able to get this one guy, it might change what you’re able to do with a couple other people and so on and so forth. It’s the combination.

“You have to remember, when you’re talking about free agents, it’s a two-way street. We could want everyone but sometimes for family reasons or different reasons players choose other spots. But this is a great landing spot. You have an ownership group that wants to win and a front office that wants to win. And you have a very passionate fan base that loves its Phillies.”


Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies

Eagles fans flood Hard Rock Stadium for game against Dolphins

Eagles fans flood Hard Rock Stadium for game against Dolphins

It's always sunny in Philadelphia, they said. Well, they LIED.

It's cold, raining, damp and cold. I had to say cold twice to get my point across. It's freezing.

Many Eagles fans had the right idea to head down to Miami for the game on Dec. 1.

And honestly, I wish there was a way to track the amount of fans for each team at a game because from what's being posted, Philly fans have completely taken over.

View this post on Instagram

Go Birds!!

A post shared by bthornton11 (@bthornton11) on

Just listen to them!

Miami probably doesn't know what to do when playing in front of a crowd this big. Maybe the loud boos will make them feel more comfortable.

And hey, our friend Robert Dunphy is back!

Also, a new face in Philadelphia was spotted too! Enjoying the heat Mr. Girardi?

Pssssh and some people still don't think the Eagles have the best fans around.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Phillies hire Joe Dillon as hitting coach

Phillies hire Joe Dillon as hitting coach

Joe Dillon, the clear focus of the Phillies' search for a new hitting coach, has been hired to join Joe Girardi's staff.

The former Nationals assistant hitting coach has earned recognition as an ascending coach and his resume was only bolstered by Washington's championship season.

For two seasons in Washington, Dillon was the assistant to hitting coach Kevin Long, who spent seven seasons as Girardi's hitting coach with the Yankees. 

The relationship between Dillon and Long dates back to Dillon's playing days when Long was one of his hitting coaches. The two worked together during offseasons, and Long later brought him aboard when he got the Nationals hitting coach job in 2018.

Prior to joining the Nats, Dillon was the Marlins' minor league hitting coordinator from 2015-17.

Dillon, 44, played in the majors with the Marlins, Brewers and Rays. He has gained recognition around the game for marrying new-age science with old-school principles in coaching hitters. Long, in fact, has called Dillon “the best assistant hitting coach in the baseball.”

Dillon succeeds Charlie Manuel, who assumed the hitting coach position on a temporary basis when the Phillies fired John Mallee in August.

Subscribe and rate At The Yard:
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19

More on the Phillies