Will Freddy Galvis be back in 2019?

Entering the 2017-18 offseason, the shortstop position for the San Diego Padres in the decade prior had been anything but consistent. The likes of Chris Burke; Josh Wilson; Luis Rodriguez; Jason Bartlett; Jerry Hairston; Everth Cabrera; Alexi Amarista; Alberto Gonzalez; Pedro Ciriaco; Ronny Cedeno; Clint Barmes; Alexei Ramirez; Will Middlebrooks; Nick Noonan; Dusty Coleman; Allen Cordoba; Yangervis Solarte; & Erick Aybar had all seen time at shortstop since the organization’s decision to trade Khalil Greene at the end of the 2008 season.

10 days before Christmas, the Padres front office decided that they had had enough of the merry-go-round at shortstop. News broke that the organization had acquired SS Freddy Galvis from the Philadelphia Phillies for promising pitching prospect Enyel De Los Santos. The trade was met with criticism by some, considering that Galvis had only one year of control left and was coming off a pretty average season (1.6 fWAR). Giving up a promising young pitcher like De Los Santos in the middle of a rebuild was a little miffing. However, Galvis was coming off a season where he started each and every game for the Phillies, and had always been known for having one of the better gloves in all of baseball at shortstop.

The Padres weren’t necessarily trading for upside in Freddy Galvis, they were trading for consistency.

“Getting some stability (at shortstop) is going to be a very good thing for our ballclub,” stated general manager A.J. Preller following the move.

Fast-forward eight months, and Freddy Galvis has been pretty much everything the Padres could have hoped. Although he is only hitting .235 with a sub-.300 OBP entering Tuesday’s series in Colorado, the 28-year-old has started each and every game this season and is 6th among MLB shortstops with 8 defensive runs saved (DRS). He also is tied for the club lead in RBI (52).

His impact off the field has not gone unnoticed, either.

“He (Galvis) is probably one of my favorite teammates I’ve ever had. Period,” said outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

“He’s been great for us, in so many different ways. We’re the only team in baseball that hasn’t carried an extra shortstop all year… that’s unique. It’s a testament to his dependability and consistency.” stated manager Andy Green.

“I was in that position like 6 years ago; trying to learn from the veteran guys. Now, the last three years, I’ve been trying to do that. Help the young guys and help make it easy for them in the big leagues,” reflected Galvis in May. “Right now, I just enjoy doing it. We have pretty good talent here in the organization and I love to work with those guys.”

In what has been a disappointing and (sometimes) disheartening 2018 season, Freddy Galvis has, arguably, been the team’s most consistent player on a day in, day out basis.

With the season quickly winding down and Galvis set to be a free agent, eyes of many Friar fans are now focused on the future. Will that future include Freddy Galvis? MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell reported recently that the Padres have “serious” interest in retaining the veteran shortstop, who does not turn 29 until November.

Is this something that should be pursued from the Padres’ side? And Galvis’s side, for that matter?

Well….. it depends.

As it stands now, the Padres likely do not have a big-league ready internal option at shortstop to start 2019. Top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. is expected to compete for the job in spring training; but with only 88 games above A-ball under his belt (due to a season-ending thumb injury), he is likely in need of some more seasoning before breaking through. INF prospect Luis Urias should see time in the major leagues before the season is over, but he’s seen as a second baseman who has the versatility to start different infield positions every now and then. SS Javier Guerra has a glove that is big league ready, but is OPS’ing .680 with a 36% K rate in the hitter-friendly PCL.

The key phrase here, as far as the Galvis discussion is concerned, is to start. Although the Padres could guarantee Galvis an everyday job in the first few months of 2019, his playing time could get a little cloudy as the dog days of summer dawn on next season… And that likely would complicate contract negotiations this winter.

Freddy Galvis will be entering free agency for the first time in his prime years, and he loves to play every day. He likely will be looking for a multi-year deal, and that does not exactly meet with what (I assume) the Padres are seeking. With early returns showing that Wil Myers can at least play an average 3rd, 3B Hudson Potts displaying plus power as a 19-year-old in the minors, Fernando Tatis Jr. showing star potential at shortstop, Luis Urias at second, and Eric Hosmer locked in at first base for at least the next four years.. Playing time in the infield could be scarce sooner rather than later.

(That is not even mentioning the plethora of infielders in the organization, both on the 40-man (Cory Spangenberg, Christian Villanueva, Carlos Asuaje) & in the minor leagues).

Ideally (for the Padres, at least), they are able to sign Freddy Galvis to a one-year deal. They certainly could do a lot worse than that, and the upcoming free agent class of shortstops is not exactly what one would consider “strong.” In Galvis, the team would know exactly what they are getting on both sides of the diamond. He has left an imprint on the team; and by all reports, people in the organization love him.

It takes two to tango, though. Once again, Galvis is still in his prime years and will poke around for a multi-year deal before settling for anything else. If the Padres cannot offer the playing time Galvis desires in the long-term, the Venezuela native (and the Padres) might decide it is better to part ways.