The Angels have done some “advance work” on shortstop Didi Gregorius, George A. King III of the New York Post writes. Gregorius won’t officially hit free agency until five days after the completion of the World Series, of course, but it’s safe to assume the Halos and every other team in baseball are already preparing offseason shopping lists.
In the Angels’ case, shortstop will be a clear need since Andrelton Simmons is also headed for free agency. While Simmons suffered through an injury-shortened season, Gregorius played in all 60 of the Phillies’ games and hit .284/.339/.488 with 10 home runs over 237 plate appearances. It was a nice bounce-back season for Gregorius, who missed over two months of the 2019 campaign while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The left-handed hitting Gregorius would add some balance to a predominantly right-handed Angels lineup, and represents a hitting upgrade over Simmons, though not a big upgrade. Since the start of the 2017 season, Gregorius has hit .270/.318/.477 with 78 homers over 1720 PA to Simmons’ 32 home runs and .281/.329/.401 slash line over 1798 PA. On the flip side, Los Angeles would making a trade-off on defense — while Gregorius has wielded a generally solid glove over his career, he obviously isn’t in the league of Simmons, who is one of the more celebrated defensive shortstops of all time.
Despite his down year in 2019, Gregorius was still offered multi-year contracts last winter before opting to sign a one-year, $14MM deal with Philadelphia. He should be in line for a multi-year deal this offseason, albeit with the uncertainty of the sport’s tighter financial picture hanging over the free market. Gregorius’ free agent stock could also be impacted by qualifying offer compensation, should the Phillies choose to issue him a QO and if Gregorius turned down the one-year, $18.9MM offer.
The Angels would certainly find Gregorius more attractive if they didn’t have to give up a draft pick to sign him, though Gregorius isn’t the only shortstop available. Marcus Semien is also a free agent, and some intriguing options (Francisco Lindor, anyone?) exist on the trade market. Plus, Los Angeles could opt to just use David Fletcher at shortstop and instead turn its attention to second base additions.