Yankees replace Derek Jeter with Didi Gregorius in 3-team trade
The Yankees didn’t waste much time finding their new shortstop, with a little help from the Diamondbacks and the Tigers.
The Yankees needed a new shortstop with Derek Jeter now retired. The Diamondbacks had an extra shortstop . The Tigers are desperate for relief help and will get in on just about anything that can fix that. This is how you end up with a Friday morning three-team trade that sent Didi Gregorius from the D-Backs to the Yankees, prospect Robbie Ray from the Tigers to the D-Backs, and relief prospect Shane Greene from the Yanks to the Tigers. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal first announced the deal on Twitter.
Gregorius gives the Yankees a shortstop who isn’t going to provide much at the plate, but will be able to defend. His career OPS+ is just 88, below-average even for a shortstop, but he’s been very effective defensively in what amounts to about a full season of playing time in the field. As Gregorius isn’t replacing peak Derek Jeter but instead the 40-year-old version that could neither hit nor field, this is an upgrade for the Yankees, and an inexpensive one at that. They got a starting shortstop and let the Tigers pick up most of the tab.
Ray was the key to last winter’s Doug Fister trade, and now he’s on the Diamondbacks. The 22-year-old was just OK during his first stint in Triple-A, but with so many pitchers potentially leaving the Tigers through free agency in the next year — Max Scherzer is already a free agent, David Price will be, and Rick Porcello is even free soon — it seems odd to send Ray packing. The Tigers want to win now, however, while they still have two of those starters, and likely believe Greene can help them do so by improving their horrific bullpen. Then again, most of Greene’s time in the majors last year was as a starter, so maybe the Tigers believe he’s going to be helpful for them wherever it is they have a need on the pitching side. Getting out of Yankees Stadium and into the AL Central might help a bit, as well.
As for the D-Backs, they had Chris Owings in addition to Gregorius, so the chance to take a chance on someone like Ray makes a lot of sense for them.
Greene wasn’t stellar in his rookie season for the Yankees, but did he did strike out over a batter per inning while inducing grounders on half of his balls in play, so there is potential for much more here than just an average pen arm. The Yankees’ bullpen probably needs a replacement for his potential, but getting a starting shortstop for someone like Greene in this day and age is a no-brainer.