Stott at shortstop after 'difficult decision' with Didi

August 4th, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are past the point of patience and track records.

They are going for it.

The Phillies announced Thursday afternoon that they released shortstop Didi Gregorius to make room on the 26-man roster for second baseman Jean Segura, who was activated from the 60-day injured list. Gregorius’ release made rookie Bryson Stott the Phillies’ everyday shortstop.

“It’s a difficult decision [with Gregorius], but I think the right decision,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. “We’ve had a long history, going back to the Yankees. A lot of really good times. A lot of playoff games. Ups and downs. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s been a really good player for a long time. Unfortunately, at this point, with Segura coming back, Stott is going to be the shortstop. With [Edmundo] Sosa and [Yairo] Muñoz, we’ve got a lot of versatility there. So, Didi was really kind of the odd man out. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad player. Because he’s played very well at shortstop for us. He just didn’t hit the way that he normally hits.”

Gregorius, 32, hit .210 with one home run, 19 RBIs and a .567 OPS in 232 plate appearances this season. He had a -0.5 WAR, according to Baseball Reference. He was minus-4 Outs Above Average in the infield, according to Statcast.

Stott, 24, entered Thursday batting .196 with seven homers, 32 RBIs and a .576 OPS in 267 plate appearances. He has a 0.2 bWAR and is +1 OAA in the infield. But Stott also has a .755 OPS in his last 18 games. Gregorius had a .378 OPS in his last 32 games.

Stott has been hitting the ball harder and more consistently than Gregorius for some time. From July 1 through Wednesday, Stott bests Gregorius in average exit velocity (90.3 mph to 84 mph), expected batting average (.277 to .225) and expected slugging percentage (.415 to .319).

“His at-bats over the last six weeks have been outstanding -- not only against right-handers, but left-handers, too,” Thomson said about Stott. “Clutch situations, he’s gotten on base. He’s had great at-bats. He’s seeing the ball well. He’s really proven to be a big league player.”

Gregorius is owed more than $5 million on his two-year, $28 million contract. The Phillies have not eaten that much money since they released outfielder Michael Saunders on June 23, 2017. He signed a one-year, $8 million contract with a $1 million buyout on a club option.

The Phillies on Tuesday also designated Jeurys Familia (one-year, $6 million contract) and Odúbel Herrera (one-year, $1.75 million).

That is three veteran players gone in three days.

“Well, I think it tells [the team] that we're in this thing and we're in it for real,” Thomson said. “We're serious about this. Hey, the game is about production. You have to produce. If you don't, then we have to make some decisions.”