5 Dec 2014
The word is the Yankees have pulled off a trade. As part of a three-way deal, the Yankees are trading Shane Greene and receiving Didi Gregorious. I really like this move.
Yes, Gregorious did not have a good 2014, but he is 24 years-old. (That makes him the youngest Yankee starter by six years in 2015.) His .653 OPS isn’t pretty, but the average AL shortstop only produced a .667 OPS in 2014. He is a lefty, and he is absolutely brutal against LHP in his career so far with a .490 OPS against them as compared to a .743 OPS vs. RHP. But again, he is 24, and he also suffered from some bad luck last year (.257 BABIP versus a 28% line drive rate) Yankee Stadium should help him become a better hitter, and if he is really brutal against lefties you can always pinch-hit for him in a big spot. (You might do that anyway for a normal shortstop) Oh, and he is a good defender by all accounts.
Shane Greene had a very impressive 80 innings for the Yankees in 2014, but it is worth remembering that he is 26 already and has a career ERA of 4.39 in the minors. He could become a nice back of the rotation guy, and that is a great price to pay for a starting shortstop under team control for the next four or five years. (Baseball Reference has him as a free agent after 2019, most other places after 2018)
If you are like me and wanted the Yankees to get younger and more athletic, this is a great first step. This move will not turn them into an offensive powerhouse, but it doesn’t have to. The Yankees’ offensive problems will be solved by guys like McCann, Ellsbury, Beltran, and Gardner, or they won’t be. Gregorious just needs to come in and play good defense and learn the offensive part of the game. By all accounts, he has the tools, now the Yankees need to help him develop into a consistent big leaguer.