Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Is It Safe to Say New York Won the Didi Gregorius Trade?

The New York Yankees were faced with an almost impossible task this offseason, the task of replacing the irreplaceable icon and legend at shortstop Derek Jeter. It didn't matter what the Yankees did or who the Yankees acquired to fill the position there was going to be backlash and a feeling that the team did not do enough, it was inevitable. When the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks hooked up for a three team trade that saw the Yankees give up Shane Greene to Detroit while a young shortstop named Didi Gregorius came back to New York the fans absolutely lost their minds. "Didi sucked" before he even played a single spring training game with the Yankees let alone an inning at Yankee Stadium in front of the Bronx faithful and once again Yankees GM Brian Cashman was under fire.

Greene, the Yankees rookie right-hander that broke out in 2014, didn't help Cashman's cause by starting out the season with a 3-0 record and an anemic ERA while giving up one earned run and Didi didn't do himself or the Yankees any favors either. Didi struggled with the bat, struggled in the field and had many questioning his overall baseball IQ. From the beginning I pleaded with Yankees fans to give Didi some time to adjust to a new team, a new league, playing everyday, the fans in New York who would hold him up to unrealistic expectations and I pleaded with Didi to settle down and not try and do too much like he was so obviously doing. Finally, after a ton of "Dammit Didi's" and other phrases coined by us here on our Twitter account (@GREEDYSTRIPES) Gregorius finally settled down at the plate and in the field.

Since the month of April Gregorius has been hitting a respectable .277 batting average while playing some of the best defense at the shortstop position that this team and their fans have seen possibly in their lifetimes. Greene, after starting the season with a 3-0 record and an 0.39 ERA, is now in the Detroit Tigers minor league system and is currently sporting an ERA over 9.00. Is it safe to say that the New York Yankees clearly and obviously won this trade? I think so.

We obviously have a long, long way to go in the career's of Gregorius and Greene but if this trend remains the way it is now going forward this may be one of the best trade's in Cashman's tenure as the Yankees GM. At the time of this writing the Yankees were able to improve from their last place finish among shortstops in the American League according to WAR in 2014 to become the 3rd best team in 2015. Gregorius has accounted for a 2.8 WAR increase through August 16th which has accounted for the biggest improvement for the Yankees at any position, and that includes the DH position currently occupied by Alex Rodriguez and the first base position occupied by Mark Teixeira in 2015.

Didi has a long career ahead of him in pinstripes potentially, he's not eligible for free agency until before the 2020 season, and at just 25 years-old he could be well on his way to earning a special spot in Yankees history. I may be getting ahead of myself, I admit, but I don't think I'm that far off base when I say that Didi has helped Cashman and the Yankees not only win the trade but will potentially help send the team back to the postseason for the first time since the 2012 season, a.k.a an eternity in Yankees terms.

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