Will the San Diego Padres have a familiar face starting at shortstop in 2019?
As the 2018 season came to a close, very few topics could push buttons among San Diego Padres more so than throwing out the idea of Freddy Galvis returning as the Opening Day shortstop in 2019. Fans seemed to either fall in love with Galvis and the show he put on with the leather or painfully watched as the career .246 hitter, who has reached base in just 29% of his career plate appearances, added to one of the worst team offensive performances in franchise history.
After suffering through horrendous play at the shortstop position for many years, many fans took a heavy interest in Galvis, who came over via a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies with only one year left on his contract. He is now a free agent but could find his way back into a Padres uniform for 2019.
Here’s what MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell had to say about the situation, with a quote from general manager AJ Preller.
"Preller acknowledged that the Padres have spoken with Freddy Galvis’ representatives about the possibility of a reunion with the 28-year-old shortstop.If Galvis were to return, there’s a clear role for him in San Diego, though it’s different than the one he filled last season. Ultimately, he’d have to cede playing time to middle-infield prospects Luis Urias and Tatis.“We liked a lot of things that he brought to us this past year … from a really solid presence defensively, a guy that’s a winning person, winning player, a lot of consistency,” Preller said. “We told him there’s a lot of different scenarios that we could see. He fits in some of those scenarios. He understands, too, some of the younger players we have coming and how potentially that might change his role. … He’s one of the possibilities for us. But honestly, there’s a lot of different ways we think we can go.”"
Across 162 games, Galvis hit .248, reached base at a .299 clip, and posted a career-high wRC+ of 85. He did set a career-high in doubles with 31 and tied his career-high in walks, drawing 45 free passes in seven fewer plate appearances compared to his 2017 season, in which he also recorded 45 walks.
The current situation at shortstop for the San Diego Padres.
At the moment, the only shortstops on the 40-man roster are Javy Guerra and recently added Greg Garcia. After hitting .279 in full-season A-ball while he was a member of the Boston Red Sox organization, Guerra has yet to hit above .226 and his highest on-base percentage is .269 in a single season. He went 2-16 with nine strikeouts in his first major league action in 2018.
Garcia’s specialty at the plate has been his ability to get on base, however, in five major league seasons he has a total of 725 plate appearances. He is a great pickup as a reserve utility man, not an everyday starting shortstop.
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Of course, Fernando Tatis Jr.will be in the conversation, especially if he has a standout spring training. Odds are more likely that he begins the year in El Paso, but finds his way onto the major league roster at some point in 2019.
Outside of Manny Machado, the current free agent market at shortstop is nothing more than stopgap options such as Jose Iglesias, Jordy Mercer, and Adeiny Hechavarria. Troy Tulowitzki joined the 2018 free agent pool on Tuesday afternoon after he was released by the Toronto Blue Jays and while he had numerous tremendous seasons in Colorado, can the 34-year-old hold up through a full season anymore? I’d bet the contract money Toronto is eating to release Tulo that he can’t.
Comments from AJ Preller during the season indicated that a return of Freddy Galvis was likely and if the organization and Galvis can come to an agreement about his role with the franchise, watching him flash his leather at Petco Park for a bit longer isn’t the worst thing that could happen, right?
Will today be the day that big moves are made in Las Vegas? Stay tuned as day three of the Winter Meetings gets underway.