The other day, MLB Trade Rumors put out their arbitration projections for this winter. The author, Matt Swartz, is usually quite accurate in predicting these salaries and it is fun to look at what each player is potentially “worth” during the negotiations. When looking at the Phillies, there isn’t much of a class this season (only five players), since most of the players are making the major league minimum now anyway.
Freddy Galvis is among those that will enter into arbitration, provided he and the team don’t strike an accord beforehand. Swartz and his model have Galvis making $7.4 million this upcoming season, a nice chunk of change for a player that never really projected to be much more than a utility guy while in the minor leagues.
However, Galvis finds himself in an interesting situation, one that you the reader are already well aware of. It’s a problem that the team knew was coming, and the one which has finally come to a head. Their top prospect, J.P. Crawford, is also on the team and ready to be the starter full-time in 2018 at the same position Galvis currently occupies. That means there are two players fully capable of manning the same position. A solution has to be found.
Now, let’s jump into hypotheticals here. Let’s say that the team decides that Crawford is ready for the full-time job and they want to trade Galvis to make that happen. It’s probably not far fetched, as most of Galvis’ biggest supporters on the coaching staff are now either in a new position in the organization, or will be looking for jobs outside of the organization. So it already feels inevitable that come Opening Day, Galvis will not be wearing the red pinstripes any longer.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. He has successfully filled a role that many rebuilding teams often find themselves struggling to fill: a capable major league shortstop. His bat, though the suprising pop was nice, never really was even league average, but his steady, often excellent, glovework provided a rock solid presence at arguably the most important defensive position on the field. However, with the ascendance of Crawford, Galvis’ position on the 40 man roster is redundant. Thus, it’s time for him to move on.
But because we love Freddy, we are going to look for a place for him to land on his feet. He’d want to be starter most of all, but would probably work on a team that is near contention as a utility guy. Even with his skill set as a hitter having some clear deficiencies, his glove is so good that teams would be willing to tolerate the low on-base percentage for the occasional Web Gem. With that in mind, here are the best fits, I believe, for Freddy Galvis:
3. St. Louis Cardinals/Baltimore Orioles
Did you know that Galvis has never seen an above .500 record? It’s true. I think it was our supreme blog mistress Liz Roscher who pointed that out on one episode of The Felske Files. These two teams might give him his first taste of winning baseball if they were to acquire him.
Granted, this one is mostly just me going on hypothetical. There is no real factual evidence that Galvis would be moving to St. Louis or Baltimore. It’s actually more of a “hey, this might make sense” idea. There is the possibility, too, that were Galvis to be traded to either team, he’d be used more as a utility player than anything. Yet for both teams, to me at least, it makes sense to acquire Galvis for this reason: are you really that confident in what you have?
Both teams have capable, young starters in Paul DeJong (STL) and Tim Beckham (BAL) that hit well with their teams last year. Yet, they are still young starters, just as capable of falling backwards in their production as they to take a leap forward, something Beckham demonstrated once he was traded to Baltimore (1.062 OPS with Baltimore in August vs. a .603 OPS in September). Taking on Galvis as insurance, as well as making him that super utility player, gives each team some insurance in case their young starters do not perform. With Freddy, you know what you’re going to get. While this might not be where the team wishes to allocate their resources, it would be a smart thing to do as teams looking to contend in 2018.
This, to me, is the team that makes all the sense in the world if Galvis wants to continue playing as a starting shortstop in 2018. There are a litany of reasons why:
- Their shortstops stunk last year. As a collective, the shortstops that called San Diego home hit .215/.278/.323. They were worth -2.5 fWAR. Defensively, they were the in the lower third of the league according to defensive runs saved. It was just a bad spot in the lineup for manager Andy Green to fill out on a nightly basis.
- There is no one Galvis would be blocking next season. A lot of the Padres’ top prospects are in the lower minors, with Luis Urias completing Double A this past season and Fernando Tatis, Jr. occupying the position in Single A. They probably aren’t ready for the big time quite yet and may not even make it as shortstops (MLB.com currently has Urias as a 2B/SS right now). They do have good numbers and will be ready soon, but by the team they are ready to contribute, Galvis would be a free agent.
- Acquiring Galvis would be a cheaper proposition for the Padres, as they wouldn’t be expected to pony up too much money for a player who plans on being a free agent after next season. They have a stockpile of arms in the lower minors, allowing them to perhaps part with to upgrade a position that was a clear black hole for them this past season.
Galvis wouldn’t make the Padres contenders. They have too many other holes to fill before they can start worrying about a wild card position. But in the increasingly competitive National League West, acquiring a player like Galvis to man shortstop could be a 4-5 win swing when compared to last season.
I will have to admit something here. I had to be talked into this one by Matt Winkelman, editor of Crashburn Alley and former writer here at The Good Phight. He planted this idea in my head and it just kept gnawing at my brain. The more I look at it, however, the more sense it makes to me.
The first thing one might say is that they already have Alcides Escobar there, and that’s true. However, he is a part of that free agent class that the Royals are losing, their core of their World Series team that includes Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. Plus, his platform 2017 wasn’t exactly noteworthy, as he hit a putrid .250/.272/.357, good for a 62 wRC+. Even Galvis walked more often than Escobar’s 2.4% of the time. Even with fairly average defense, letting Escobar go isn’t exactly a no-brainer.
At one point, Kansas City thought they had Escobar’s replacement coming up through the minor leagues in Raul Mondesi, Jr., but in his brief audition the past two seasons, Mondesi has yet to hit in the major leagues, combining for a .181/.226/.271 line in 209 plate appearances. With no one else coming up behind him, the team could let Mondesi try and win the job in March, or they can go outside of the organization to make an improvement. That improvement could very well be Freddy Galvis.
Part of the reason why the team had so much trouble trading Galvis before the July deadline was because there aren’t many teams that are in need of a new starting shortstop. Most teams are actually pretty set at the position for 2018 with very few starting jobs even open. Of course, were the team to hold onto him through the offseason, an injury during spring training could very well change a team’s plan rapidly, causing the phone to ring at Citizens Bank Park. If Galvis were to be more open to becoming a utility player, he could very well stay here in Philadelphia, or he could go to any number of teams looking for insurance. But with J.P. Crawford ready to take over as the starter, it’s probably best for the team to look for a solution now before they head south for practices. Here’s hoping that wherever Freddy lands, it’s with a winning organization that can offer him either a starting job or something he has never seen: a playoff game. He’s earned it.