Blue Jays: Eric Sogard is easier to keep than Freddy Galvis

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 17: Freddy Galvis #16 of the Toronto Blue Jays and Eric Sogard #5 celebrate after their team's 10-2 win over the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 17, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 17: Freddy Galvis #16 of the Toronto Blue Jays and Eric Sogard #5 celebrate after their team's 10-2 win over the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 17, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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If the Blue Jays want to keep a veteran infielder around to mentor their emerging keystoners, Eric Sogard is a better fit than Freddy Galvis.

Over the next three-plus weeks the Blue Jays will have a lot of important decisions to make about their roster and the best ways to go about the next phase of their rebuild.

One of the biggest decisions will be when to promote Bo Bichette to the big leagues for his debut, but that move likely won’t come until there has been at least one trade in advance of the July 31st deadline. That’s because the Blue Jays already have a pretty full middle-infield depth chart that includes Freddy Galvis, Cavan Biggio, Eric Sogard, and Brandon Drury. You could even throw Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in there, but he now looks like a permanent fixture in left field.

Earlier this season Atkins mentioned that he wanted Bichette to force the front office’s hand for a promotion to the big leagues, and lately he’s been making an extremely good case. After a bit of a slow start and lost time on the IL dealing with a broken hand, he’s pushed his slash line to .319/.381/.521 with five home runs, 12 doubles, 24 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in 37 games and 144 Triple-A at-bats. He’s been particularly hot lately, and the pressure is starting to mount for the front office to let him join his former minor league teammates at the highest level.

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The Blue Jays rightly want to make sure that Bichette can play every day when he does arrive, and right now that would be a difficult thing to provide for the 21-year-old. That said, there’s a decent chance that there could be several veterans on the move this month, and that list could theoretically include Galvis and Sogard, even if both are performing very well in their first season in Toronto.

There is a great deal of value in letting the kids play, but I can also understand why the Blue Jays and many other teams like to have a veteran presence around as well. Mentorship is a great thing, and guys like Bichette and Biggio can learn a lot from veterans like Galvis and Sogard. However, one fits the role of mentor better than another, and that’s why I think the Blue Jays should and will shop Freddy Galvis this month.

Galvis has been worth every penny and then some on his affordable five million dollar deal this year, and it comes with another bargain option for next season. I can understand the Blue Jays’ reluctance to part with a valuable contributor they can keep around for another season at an great price, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll work in Toronto for the short term, let alone the long haul. Unless he turns into an MVP candidate he’s going to be viewed as a placeholder for Bichette, and the latter is ready to take that place when the Jays are willing to hand him the reigns.

That said, Galvis is too good of a player to be placed in a bench role, especially on a rebuilding team like the Blue Jays. He does have experience at second base as well and could move over for Bichette, but then Biggio would be forced into the outfield on more a full-time basis, and that’s not ideal. He’s also young enough at just 29 that there should be a contender eager to add his services. And if he keeps playing like he did in the first half, he might even fetch a pretty good return.

Sogard also deserves to get regular playing time, but he’s a much better fit as a part-time player and mentor for the emerging stars in this organization. He started the season fighting for a bench role and a big league job, and his performance this year has been as surprising as it’s been pleasing. In a perfect world he would probably get moved to a contender and pursue a World Series ring as well, but he could have a lot of value in Toronto for both the 2019 season, and maybe beyond that.

As a guy who has bounced back and forth between the minor leagues and the highest level, Sogard understands patience and perseverance as well as anyone in baseball. He’s fought for everything he’s earned in this league, and that example and guidance could be incredibly valuable for his young teammates. He’s also working on his outfield chops to further increase his flexibility and value to Charlie Montoyo and the coaching staff, something he’d only done for 10 big league innings prior to this past week.

Galvis is a far superior defensive shortstop, but again, he’s also worthy of playing every day and likely wouldn’t want to accept a bench role (nor should he). He would also fetch a greater return than Sogard (I would have to assume), and that will factor into the equation as well. When Bichette arrives he is going to play shortstop the vast majority of the time, and as the Blue Jays continue this rebuild it’ll be okay if Sogard and Drury make the odd start there. They also have guys like Richard Urena in the minor league system that could serve as depth in case of an injury.

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It’s possible that Atkins and the front office could look to trade both veterans, but if they’d like to keep one around to help Bichette and the rest of the infielders adjust to the MLB grind, Sogard feels like a much better fit. We’ll see what happens over the next three-plus weeks.

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