Didi Gregorius Deserves A Sequel In Cincinnati
Marcus Semien was not given a qualified offer from the Oakland Athletics, which makes him a free agent entering the 2021 season. Semien now joins an impressive list of shortstops available to teams looking to improve at that position, which a few years ago seemed highly unlikely.
In addition to free agents like Semien, the names here include All-Star shortstops who will likely be traded. Cleveland, having been for the past two seasons trying to work out a contract extension for Francisco Lindor, will be more desperately than ever looking to trade him before Spring Training.
Houston has a similar dilemma with Carlos Correa, who becomes eligible for free agency next year. One of the main pieces of the Astros that won the 2017 World Series, Correa has been injured often since then and probably appears dispensable to a Houston organization that is likely to embark on a minor rebuilding process.
Trevor Story of the Rockies, just like Correa and Lindor, is one year away from free agency. The two time MVP finalist has averaged 36 home runs and 101 runs batted since finishing fourth in the 2016 Rookie of the Year race, but he has suffered slight declines in each of the past three seasons and may no longer be considered Colorado's shortstop of the future.
Among the other prominent shortstops facing free agency, just like Marcus Semien , is Andrelton Simmons. The four time Gold Glove winner has finished among the top fifteen in the MVP race twice in his five seasons with the Angels, and he is coming off a .297 performance in 2020.
All-Star Didi Gregorius is another high profile shortstop in the free agent market, joining Simmons and Semien. The perfect for Gregorius might be Cincinnati, the organization which drafted and developed him.
If he does indeed return to the Queen City, it will be a stark reminder of a bad decision the Reds made in 2012. They had two young promising shortstops, Gregorius and Zack Cozart, but it was the latter they chose to keep.
Arizona acquired Gregorius in a three team trade that sent Trevor Bauer to Cleveland and Shin Soo-Choo to Cincinnati. Basically, when all is said and done, the Reds in exchange for Gregorius received Choo, who spent just one season in Cincinnati.
While he did have a decent career with Cincinnati, Cozart proved to be nowhere near the player that Gregorius was. As both a Diamondback and a New York Yankee, Gregorius averaged 21 home runs and 81 runs batted in while hitting at a .265 clip.
During that same eight year span, Cozart averaged 17 home runs and 59 RBI with a .249 batting average. Those numbers were very respectable, but Gregorius would have served as a much better threat in the Cincinnati lineup as well as being an improvement as the double play partner of All-Star Brandon Phillips.
Granted, keeping Cozart was far from the biggest mistake the Reds ever made, and they now have a chance to somewhat rectify it. Not signing Gregorius this winter, given the team's complete absence of a shortstop, would be a much bigger mistake.