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The value of Freddy Galvis

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Why did the Padres trade for Freddy Galvis? The reasons go beyond just his defense.

@kcalfredphoto

Part of the offseason cold stove trades involved a piece of the Padres’ vaunted farm system to fill what many deemed an organizational black hole: Freddy Galvis was acquired for minor league pitcher Enyel De Los Santos. Padres Twitter caught fire once the trade was announced for various reasons, most espoused was the idea that a minor league pitcher (with years of control) was given up for one year of a defense-first shortstop with not much to offer at the plate.

On the other end (mainly through team outlets), the trade was sold as an end to signing past-their-prime placeholders to one-year deals. Since the departure of one Everth Cabrera the team has utilized several players at shortstop in Clint Barmes, Alexi Amarista, Alexei Ramirez, Jose Rondon, Luis Sardinas, Erick Aybar, and Dusty Coleman. Even Yangervis Solarte spent time at shortstop despite his lack of speed for the position (he even ended up with a positive UZR of 1.3 for his short-term effort). Solarte isn’t the only non-SS player to have filled the position for the Padres; the team trotted out Will Middlebrooks and Jedd Gyorko as shortstops which yielded the results you expect to see from infielders not meant to play the position.

Outside of all the analytics and prognostications for Galvis lies the actual player inside the clubhouse. By all accounts Freddy is a clubhouse guy and his joy for the game of baseball has begun to show in Padres camp.

The veteran leadership many Padres fans have been asking from other players is easily seen above with Galvis working alongside future SS candidates Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Luis Urias. Freddy has also expressed excitement with working alongside his new pitching teammates and especially fellow countryman Jose Pirela.

Stats will tell you that Freddy Galvis is a durable (played every game last year) defense-first shortstop coming in as a Gold Glove finalist the last two years. His fielding percentage of .989 led all MLB shortstops and will be an asset with two of baseball leading groundball-inducing pitchers playing for the Padres in Clayton Richard and Luis Perdomo. His bat isn’t quite as strong though his work with Matt Stairs last year with the Phillies will continue this year with the Padres. Galvis put up career numbers at the plate last year despite those numbers being generally pedestrian (80 wRC+, ranked 14th among all qualified SS and a .255 batting average).

Despite all the stats, the value of Freddy Galvis will probably manifest in a young developing clubhouse and with fans especially after the departure of Yangervis Solarte. Outside of the locker room aspects Freddy will serve as a good defensive stopgap at a position the Padres have skimped on until either one of Luis Urias (who is better as a 2B) or Fernando Tatis, Jr. (who everyone wants to stick at SS) are ready for the main roster.