November 12, 2019

Yankees Pass Up Chance to Give Didi Gregorius a Qualifying Offer

Yankees Pass Up Chance to Give Didi Gregorius a Qualifying Offer

A player not named Didi Gregorius may be a shortstop for the Yankees next season. On Monday, the deadline for M.L.B. teams to make qualifying offers, the Yankees declined to extend a one-year, $17.8 million deal to Gregorius, who has been a vital player for them over the past five seasons.

Gregorius will enter the free agent market as the best available player at his position; the Yankees can still re-sign him, but they will not be obliged to pay a set amount.

Had Gregorius received a qualifying offer and declined, the Yankees would have received a draft pick as compensation if he signed with another team. Now any team can sign Gregorius, who will be 30 next season, without having to compensate the Yankees.

Gregorius replaced Derek Jeter as the Yankees’ everyday shortstop in 2015. After a rough first season, he blossomed into a valuable all-around player. From 2016 to 2018, he hit .277 and averaged 24 homers, while playing stout defense.

He had a down season in 2019, after missing the first two months season recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He hit .238 with 16 homers and regressed defensively.

In Gregorius’s absence, Gleyber Torres moved over from second base to capably fill in at shortstop, and he could play there again next season if necessary.

Over the weekend, the Yankees and closer Aroldis Chapman reached a contract extension that will keep him in New York through the 2022 season. Chapman had the right to opt out of the remaining two years of his deal (with $30 million left) on Saturday and to seek a larger contract elsewhere.

The compromise: The Yankees tacked on another year worth $18 million, bringing the total compensation to three years and $48 million. Although Chapman gave up the deciding homer in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros, he posted a 2.21 earned run average and saved 37 games during the regular season.

“New York, I told you I wasn’t going anywhere!” Chapman posted on Twitter in English and Spanish.

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