It’s Didi Gregorius or bust for the Cincinnati Reds’ front office

With Marcus Semien having inked a one-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays and rumors of Andrelton Simmons to the Philadelphia Phillies intensifying, the Cincinnati Reds best chance to upgrade the shortstop position is signing Didi Gregorius to a multi-year deal. This is the only move the Reds front office needs to focus on.

Marcus Semien was arguably the best all-around shortstop on the market. However, he’s now off the market having signed a one-year/$18M with the Blue Jays. That’s a sizable contract, and should give the Reds front office an idea of what it’ll take to land a starting shortstop.

The Cincinnati Reds have been rumored to be in the mix for Andrelton Simmons, but I’d look for the four-time Gold Glove Award-winner to sign a contract with the Phillies very soon. According to our friends at That Ball’s Outta Here, the Phillies have “serious interest” in Simmons.

After having signed J.T. Realmuto to a five-year/$115M contract this afternoon, they’ll likely be looking to save money in order to fill their need at the shortstop position. Simmons, coming off back-to-back injury-plagued seasons, will likely come a bit cheaper than Gregorius while also upgrading Philadelphia’s infield defense.

Didi Gregorius must become the only focus for the Reds front office.

Now is the time for Bob Castellini to open his wallet and Nick Krall to start negotiating with Gregorius’ representatives in an effort to bring the former Reds farmhand back home. In order to get Didi to sign on the dotted line, I think it’s going to take a multi-year deal.

Semien signed for one year north of the border, and by all accounts, Simmons is likely to only have one-year offers on the table. With the upcoming free agent class containing names like Javier Baez, Trevor Story, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and Corey Seager, next year’s crop of shortstops will be quite impressive.

Gregorius may not want to enter next year’s free agent class as one of the lower-tier shortstops available. And that’s not a knock on Gregorius’ talent, but a credit to how many talented shortstops may become free agents next offseason.

What would the Reds have to offer in order to sign Didi Gregorius?

MLB Trade Rumors actually predicted the Cincinnati Reds to sign Didi Gregorius to a three-year/$39M contract this offseason. I think that’s a good starting point, and it may be enough to entice Gregorius to sign with Cincinnati.

An average annual value (AAV) of $13M is nothing to sneeze at, and at 31-years old, not a drastic overpay on behalf of the Reds. If Cincinnati preferred to sign Gregorius to a two-year, you’d have to assume the AAV would go up, the Reds may be staring at a two-year/$30M contract.

The Reds are out of excuses and need to sign Didi Gregorius.

Whatever Bob Castellini hopes to be his last, best, and final offer to Didi Gregorius, he’d better extend it to him now. If the Cincinnati Reds emerge the offseason without one of the top three shortstops on the open market, it’s an abject failure on behalf of the ownership and the front office.

Nick Krall said before the Winter Meetings that the Reds goal was to find a starting shortstop. Cincinnati cannot enter the 2021 season with Kyle Farmer (who I think is a great utility player and even better person) as the team’s starting shortstop, period!