With the emergence of the youth in Toronto lately, it might sound strange to think the Blue Jays could keep Freddy Galvis around. That said, there are plenty of reasons to do just that.
August has brought some pretty exciting baseball for the Blue Jays, with the new-look, youthful squad providing plenty of highlights.
The team has been lead by the American League’s player of the week in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who has been red-hot at the plate, and also by Bo Bichette, who broke the franchise record for a hit streak to start his MLB career. Bichette collected a hit in his 9th straight game on Tuesday night, and also picked up his 10th extra base hit during that time as well.
It hasn’t just been the dynamic duo that has been performing lately though, and it’s not hard to see how this young core is already starting to form. The majority of the lineup is 24 or younger on most nights, and in the middle of it all are a few veterans like Justin Smoak, and Freddy Galvis. Smoak’s contract expires at the end of the season, and while I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him returning to the Blue Jays on a one or two year deal, it’s just as likely that Ross Atkins and the front office want to turn the keys over to the next generation, and also open up some extra playing time.
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In Galvis’ case, things could be a little bit different especially because of the contract he signed before the 2019 season got underway. The 29-year-old has been a bargain at just four million this season, and his deal comes with a club option for 5.5 million in 2020, which includes a buyout for one million. After the season that Galvis has had, there’s pretty much no chance the Blue Jays will use that buyout, so there are two other options.
With Bichette’s arrival things are a bit complicated, as both he and Galvis should be starting at shortstop on any given night. However, Charlie Montoyo has done a good job of shuffling his lineup around since Bichette was called up, and so far he’s made things work, especially by utilizing the DH spot. Ideally you’d like to see the young players get as many reps on defence as possible, but there’s nothing wrong with using the DH spot for a rest day as well.
I’ll admit that I was surprised that Galvis didn’t get traded before the July 31st deadline, especially after Bichette was called up, and because of the depth in the middle infield they have at, or near the top of their system. They’ve used Cavan Biggio and Brandon Drury at second base, and both men are capable of filling in for Guerrero Jr. at third if he’s resting. You’d have to think Biggio will get the majority of starts at second base, but because of his ability to move around to third, first base, and the corner outfield spots, some creative juggling could make it possible.
I’m confident that the Blue Jays will commit to Bichette as the shortstop for the majority of the time, but Galvis can still get starts at second base, at short on Bichette’s days off, and also make some starts as the DH as well. He’s definitely a good enough player that he should be a starting shortstop somewhere, but he would also bring a lot of value to the table for the Blue Jays if he sticks around for another year.
Despite the fact that Bichette’s career has started off in remarkable fashion, he’s still not guaranteed to stick at the highest level for good. Even Roy Halladay made a trip back to the minor leagues before that happened for him, so don’t rule it out for any of these talented youngsters. There are no guarantees of health for the infield depth chart as well, and shortstop depth would be the greater need in the system.
Saying all of this, I still expect that the Blue Jays will pick up Galvis’ option this winter, and then likely shop him with a full year of contract control, at a great price to boot. Keeping him for the rest of this season helps to cover the youth, but also gives them a shining example of how to play the game the right way, and how to come to the ballpark prepared to play every day. For a clubhouse that doesn’t have a lot of veterans left, that may be the greatest value that Galvis can provide for his fellow infielders. If the front office chooses to keep him for around for another year, I’ll certainly understand why.