Philadelphia Phillies trade of Freddy Galvis may be a major error

Galvis, an elite defender, will soon be a fan favorite in San Diego. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images.
Galvis, an elite defender, will soon be a fan favorite in San Diego. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. /

The Philadelphia Phillies trade of Freddy Glavis may prove to be a major error in the coming years.

I first saw the former Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis playing for the short-season, Single-A Williamsport Crosscutters in 2007 in that central Pennsylvania former logging capital. He was 17, and he skittered and dove across the left side of the infield like no one I’d ever seen play professional ball.

Oh, all right, I did see Omar Vizquel. On TV.

Galvis, however, was a special fielder. On the other hand, as I told fellow Phillies fans then, the kid looked like most professional pitchers could knock the bat out of his hands. I was invoking the commonplace remark about the great Phillies shortstop Larry Bowa as a young player.

On Dec. 4 reports indicated that Galvis, the long-time starting shortstop for the Phillies, was being considered as trade bait along with his double play partner, Cesar Hernandez. Younger players with allegedly greater upsides, J.P Crawford and Scott Kingery, were waiting in the wings.

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Did anyone care? This was a double play combination on a last place team. As the baseball month moved into the Winter Meetings, shinier baubles than Galvis and Hernandez appeared. On Dec. 12 it was Jake Arrieta, then Manny Machado, under consideration by Philly scribes. A report on the Phillies website Dec. 14 indicated the Angels had found the asking price for Hernandez too high at the Winter Meetings. On the next day, another website’s “national MLB columnist” tweeted a deal to send Galvis to the San Diego Padres was seemingly imminent.

By mid-afternoon Dec. 15th Galvis had been sent to San Diego for Double-A pitching prospect Enyel De Los Santos, and the Phillies had made their first mistake of what will likely be called the Gabe Kapler Era, after their newly hired manager.

Of course, perhaps Galvis will start a serious decline in 2018, but that seems unlikely. He is relatively young (28), and barring injury, probably still has a seven-to-ten year potential as a major leaguer. And to be clear, I am not saying that J.P. Crawford shouldn’t get a shot as the starting shortstop for the Phillies. What I’m saying is that Crawford is still unproven at this point, so unproven that the starter shouldn’t be jettisoned.

This is certainly true if that starter had been the runner-up for the Gold Glove the last two seasons. (He should have won in ’17 at the least.)

It’s also true if that 5-foot-10, 185-pound player once hit 20 home runs.

Finally, it doesn’t hurt if the player, who’s unlikely to hit .300 in any season, has gradually been raising his batting average over his career. That has been by fits and starts, granted, but his career average right now is over 30 points higher than Crawford’s .214 – perhaps a marginally unfair point, considering Crawford has logged only a month with the Phillies.

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Is Galvis is a Hall of Famer in the making? No, but he is potentially a long-term, super-utility player in the mold of former Phillies Tomas Perez, Wilson Valdez, and Andres Blanco. All three of those players were greatly beloved and deservedly so in Philadelphia. They were players who helped fans endure many seasons less wonderful than 2008. Freddy Galvis could have been another in Philly’s long line of “secret weapons,” to borrow from the late Harry Kalas.