It's crazy to think back to last year in the middle of 2018 that even the thought of Didi Gregorius being a Yankee for the long term was in question. Now heading into the offseason, it's likely that he will not be back with the team. Today the Yankees opted to not extend a $17.8 million qualifying offer. When a player is on his way out, and yet to receive a qualifying offer in his career, the team can extend a one year deal worth the average of the top 125 players in baseball. If this offer is rejected by the player, the team is then awarded draft pick compensation when he signs elsewhere. Usually if it's clear a player is headed for a big pay day they'll extend the offer just to get the draft pick. Like the Astros for example. They know Cole is getting $250 million plus, but they'll extend his the offer knowing very well he's going to laugh at it, just to get the pick.
The Yankees didn't offer Didi that because they knew he'd probably accept it. Gregorius' 2019 was a lost year. Everything went down hill when he underwent offseason Tommy John surgery in 2018. He lost half the season and never regained his top form. In the postseason, aside from his Game 2 grand slam, he was a non factor. It's extra brutal when you think about how it was basically a lock for Didi to get extended after the 2018 season, if he was fully healthy. He's done everything and more for this team since coming over in the Arizona trade. From 2016-2018 he was a rising star. A top 10 shortstop in all of baseball. A defensive stalwart with a perfect swing for the Bronx. To top it all off, he's one of the best teammates you can find. Exactly what you picture as a guy who takes over for Derek Jeter in New York. Never putting himself above the team. Refuses to talk about his own accomplishments. The team. The team. The team. Guy was bullet proof from 2016-2018.
Flash forward a year and we're here. That's New York. I mean how did we get to this point where the Yankees can say see ya later to Didi? It's fucking CRAZY, but it sadly makes the most sense. Gleyber Torres is a natural shortstop and a superstar in this league. He's your shortstop for the future and under team control through the 2024 season. Based on contract value, age and performance he's likely in the top 5 or 10 of most valuable players in Major League Baseball. DJ LeMahieu is one of the best hitters I've ever seen, his glove is second to none, and he's the embodiment of what you want in a player. Just dominates, studies film, doesn't say a word, and tries his best to bring home a championship. Guy probably doesn't even have a phone with real features on it. He's got one year for $12 million left on his deal and you can expect the team to extend him this offseason. He's your second baseman moving forward. At third base you have Gio Urshela. It's BANANAS we're here saying Didi is gone because Gio Urshela is the guy that's in his way, but he's definitely part of the equation. Gio just had a break through season where he wow'd with his glove and his bat. No moment was too big for Urshela. Everyone thought he was a fluke, but as the months grew on in the season he just kept slugging. The Yankees found something in Gio that no one else saw. He's 28 years old and will enter arbitration for the first time this offseason. He's not going anywhere.
And that's your infield moving forward as far as I see it. This team loves to save money where they can. The infield of Voit, DJ, Gleyber, and Gio is as cost effective as it gets. It's also wildly talented. There's just no room for Didi as shitty as it sounds. I feel like shit even typing this stuff out. Didi is Didi. How could we ever let him go? The thought of that guy elsewhere makes me sick. But it's the right move. We all love this guy, but if they want to improve the starting pitching (and they must) you can't be bringing back Didi with their infield depth.
Letting Didi walk is the move here. You put his money to a starting pitcher. Gerrit Cole. End of story. I guess there is the chance he comes back on a super cheap deal, but I don't see it. Someone will pay him and they'll get an awesome player. Baseball is a business. Sometimes the right move isn't the one that's easiest. I wouldn't officially close the book on Didi, but it's certainly not likely.