Opening Day was a success for the newest bat in the Phillies lineup, as Didi Gregorius went 2-for-3 with a home run, walk and two runs scored. Gregorius scored the only two runs for the Phillies, who lost 5-2 in their first regular season action of 2020.
Gregorius of course inked a one-year deal worth $14 million this past winter. The move made plenty of sense for both camps, as the Phillies were seeking another stable bat while Gregorius was looking to re-coup market value following an injury riddled 2019. All told, Didi slashed .238/.276/.441 to go along with 16 home runs in 82 games with the Yankees.
There was plenty of early success in New York, however. Gregorius – now 30 – turned in great results with the bat from 2016-18. The 2017 campaign was the best statistically; a year in which he slashed .287/.318/.478 with 25 home runs and 87 runs batted in. He’s also just a season removed from a career high in home runs (27) and slugging percentage (.494).
Citizen’s Bank Park has garnered a reputation as a hitter’s park over the years, so the match seemed perfect for both sides. One game in (which carries far more weight than usual), and the results have obviously been pleasing. Gregorius will hope to build on his success in this sprint of a season in hopes of landing a lucrative multi-year contract, with the Phillies or otherwise.
He’ll be doing so while wearing a mask at all times, which is certainly not fun in this heat. Though the MLB does not require masks during game-time, Didi will be wearing one due to a chronic kidney condition. As a high risk player, Gregorius could have opted out of the 2020 season and still received full salary and service time. The newest member of the Phillies lineup told Todd Zolecki that he never truly considered this option, which is certainly an admirable move that will go over well with the fans.
Also, since we’re doing an article centered on Didi Gregorius, I think now would be a good time to look back at his trip to London last season. It was a great series for Didi, but British soccer announcing elevated everything to a 10/10 highlight reel. “That ball is absolutely walloped!”