Reds rumors are sure to start flying with free agency now open. An unsurprising report has the Cincinnati Reds interested in shortstop Didi Gregorius.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network is reporting that the Cincinnati Reds have interest in free agent shortstop Didi Gregorius. These Reds rumors should come as no surprise, as it’s been speculated since the end of the 2019 that Cincinnati would look towards a reunion with their former farmhand.
Gregorius offers Cincinnati a major upgrade at shortstop. While José Iglesias had a solid season for the Reds after signing a minor-league deal, his OPS was just 85, one point higher than his career-OPS of 84. Iglesias had a career-highs in home runs (11), RBIs (59) and slugging percentage (.407).
Didi Gregorius, who played just 82 games after recovering from Tommy John surgery, had a down-year in 2019 with a slash line of .238/.276/.441 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs. Those are some of the worst numbers Gregorius has seen since his 2015 season with the New York Yankees.
Gregorius offers a definite power upgrade at the position. Sir Didi averaged 22 home runs and 76 RBIs the past four seasons. Zack Cozart hit 24 home runs during his All-Star season of 2017, but before that, the last shortstop to hit 20-plus home runs in a season for Cincinnati was Felipe Lopez back in 2005.
While Didi doesn’t offer the slick-fielding glove of Iglesias, the 29-year-old is no slouch defensively. In fact, that was one of Gregorius’ plus-tools when he was in the Reds minor league system. Gregorius was a Top 10 prospect for the Reds, according to MLB Pipeline, back in 2011.
The past two seasons saw Gregorius register a -8 defensive runs saved (DRS), but he has a career-fielding percentage of .979. That’s only a few points lower than Iglesias’ career-fielding percentage of .984, though Iglesias accounted for 8 DRS in 2019.
With Cozart seen as the future at shortstop for the Reds, Gregorius was part of a three-team trade following the 2012 Winter Meetings that saw Shin-Soo Choo wind up Cincinnati, Trevor Bauer and Drew Stubbs head to Cleveland and Gregorius shipped out west to Arizona. Gregorius was sent to the Yankees in 2014 following the retirement of Derek Jeter.
This won’t be the last time we hear Didi Gregorius’ name pop up in Reds rumors. In fact, I expect he and Yasmani Grandal to be some of the most talked about free agent targets for Cincinnati this offseason. Outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos may also pique the Reds interest.