The Mariners have signed infielder Didi Gregorius to a minor league deal, per an announcement from Algodoneros de Unión Laguna, the Mexican League club he had been playing for. Gregorius’ deal contains a $1.5MM base salary if he cracks the MLB roster, reports Daniel Kramer of MLB.com (Twitter link).
Gregorius, 33, struggled badly in the past two major league seasons and was released by the Phillies in August of last year. He remained a free agent until May of this year, when he headed to the Mexican League. He has been on an absolute tear since signing, as he has hit .359/.431/.777 through 26 games this year. That strong showing will get him another chance to join the affiliated ranks.
He was once an effective big league shortstop during his time with the Yankees, hitting .269/.313/.446 from 2015 to 2019. He then reached free agency and signed with the Phillies. He was good enough in 2020 to return on a two-year pact, but his results slid at that point. He slashed just .210/.267/.345 over 2021 to 2022, leading to his release.
The Mariners will obviously be hoping that his recent surge in the Mexican League is a sign that he’s capable of bouncing back. The club has had a few of their regulars struggle on offense this year, none more so than second baseman Kolten Wong. He has a dismal .153/.246/.178 line so far this year. His wRC+ of 29 is dead last in the majors among hitters with at least 130 plate appearances.
Gregorius has primarily been a shortstop in his career and was playing that position in the Mexican League. His only major league experience at second base was with the Diamondbacks way back in 2014, but most shortstops are broadly capable of making the switch the other side of the bag without much issue. However the Mariners decide to deploy him, he’ll give the club a bit of extra non-roster depth and try to earn his way back to the majors.