There is no doubt that the San Diego Padres are in search of a viable starting shortstop for the 2018 season.
The team has been linked to Alcides Escobar and Zack Cozart, who are on the free agent market. We have also heard some speculation about a possible trade for Jurickson Profar from the Rangers. The Padres would not pay top dollar for the Rangers’ former top talent, as his value has taken a big hit in recent seasons. That just isn’t going to happen. Though Profar’s ability is intriguing.
Cozart and Escobar make some sense for the Friars. Cozart fits the bill if the Padres want to invest in a decent option for more than one year. He could also be secured if the team is able to sign Shohei Ohtani and looks to be competitive earlier than expected. Escobar makes sense if they want to look for an option solely for 2018 and not be required to pay a pretty penny. The former Royal shortstop will probably only get a one-year deal this winter as his numbers have tapered off recently.
In the last few days, another option has surfaced for the Padres, as the Philies have made it known that they are listening to offers on both Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis. The Padres are stocked at second base, so Hernandez is of no real interest, but Galvis is a decent option for the Friars. Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal have both linked the Padres to the Phillies this week as the two sides apparently are early in discussions.
Galvis is in the last year of his contract and due for free agency after the 2018 season. The Phillies have J.P. Crawford ready for major league service time and have no interest in a long-term deal with Galvis. He is expendable and the Phillies will be taking offers on him now until he is dealt. The rebuilding Phillies are looking towards the future and Galvis should fetch a decent return from a team that is in need of a shortstop.
The Padres are at a time where they need to make a decision. At one point, 12-18 months ago, this team desperately needed a shortstop for the future. With the emergence of Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis, they no longer need an answer long-term at the position. They do, however, need an answer for the 2018 season as both men are still very raw and not capable of being major league regulars just yet.
Galvis would be an excellent addition, but if the Phillies are hoping to get into the Padres top talent pool, a trade is unlikely. The Padres will not move Joey Lucchesi, Jacob Nix, Logan Allen, or any type of valued pitching prospect for a rental. They are not built to win now, and even if they were, that price tag would be excessive for Galvis who, in all reality, is an average major league talent.
Don’t get me wrong. Galvis has potential. He has only missed 15 games in the last three seasons and played in all 162 last season for Philadelphia. The switch-hitter has some pop (12 homers in 2017 and 20 in 2016) and can steal a base (17 in 2016 and 14 in 2017), but he also owns a pedestrian .245/.287/.372 career slash line in 2,200 at bats.
Defensively, he is average to slightly above average. He has excellent defensive numbers with a .984 fielding percentage in over 4,200 innings at short, but does have a lack of range, and his extended defensive metrics show that. Galvis will make the routine play, but he is not one to get a big break on a grounder and make a highlight-reel play. Perhaps that is just what the Padres want.
If the Phillies would take an offer of Travis Jankowski and Walker Lockett for Galvis, then that could make sense. Jankowski is buried in the Padres’ depth and could perform in Philly, while Lockett provides the team with an arm they can use now. If the Phillies expect more, then the Padres will probably just walk away. Galvis will be due at least $4.75 million this season in salary after making $4.35 last season. He is in the last year of arbitration and after playing in all 162 games, he is definitely due for a raise. The Padres could easily spend half that on a shortstop option like Erick Aybar or Alcides Escobar. Again, the team is not built to win now, so there is no urgency to deal top valued prospects for one-year rentals.
Galvis is due for free agency at the end of the year, so if the Padres fall out of contention and he performs well, they could theoretically flip him at the trade deadline for prospects. That is something to consider. If the Padres value Galvis enough, they surely have a package of prospects that would easily attain him. But do they want to pay that price? They could trade for him, or they could explore one-year options on the free agent market. A.J. Preller always seems to leave himself options when formulating these plans. One signing or trade could lead to another. One thing’s for certain: The Padres will be active at MLB Winter Meetings next week.