Friday, December 5, 2014

Yankees spin Shane Greene into Didi Gregorius

The New York Yankees turned a nice rookie season from Shane Greene, a 26-year-old pitcher with no previous prospect hype, into Didi Gregorius, a soon to be 25-year-old shortstop with recent prospect hype who possesses above-average fielding skills and some potential upside at the plate. Gregorius was initially traded from Arizona to Detroit for pitcher Robbie Ray.

The Yankees will control Gregorius through 2020 and he’ll immediately be penciled in as the starting shortstop. This deal seems like a no-brainer to me considering what was out there on the free agent market and what it cost the Yankees.

The Yankees had been described as having interest in Alexei Ramirez of the Chicago White Sox and Troy Tulowitzki in trade speculation and Stephen Drew as a free agent fit to replace iconic Yankee Derek Jeter. Gregorius will make the league minimum and could free up money not tied up in a shortstop long term for a run at Max Scherzer or Jon Lester. Each of the other shortstop options above would have cost better (and more) prospects and/or more in salary.

Greene (5-4, 3.78 ERA, 3.73 FIP in 78.2 innings, 14 starts in 2014) would have surely provided some depth to a questionable Yankees' rotation in terms of injury suspicions, but the Bombers are equipped to handle that by adding Scherzer, or Brandon McCarthy to the fold with the cash savings on Gregorius. They’ve also got Bryan Mitchell and Manny Banuelos knocking at the door in Triple-A.

In 724 major league plate appearances, the lefty-hitting Gregorius has put together a .243/.313/.363 slash line with 25 doubles, eight triples and 13 home runs. At Triple-A, with Reno in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, Gregorius has compiled a .287/.350/.452 line with 26 doubles, seven triples and 11 homers in 495 plate appearances. While his major league offensive numbers leave something to be desired, there is the chance for improvement according to his level of performance in Reno.

His glove is his calling card according to those who have seen him at all levels; though his UZR/150 for his major league career sits at -3.3 indicating some disparity between the eye test and defensive metrics.

In the end this deal is better than others that could have been made considering what is lost, the potential upside and in that it allows more moves by the Yankees from a financial perspective.

What are your thoughts? Did the Yankees do well in this deal? Let me know in the comments below.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer and sports media strategist. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.