A few months back, I found myself in favor of passing on offering any sense of a contract to Jimmy Rollins and moving on without the longest tenured member of the team. When his asking price seemed to drop into fewer years and fewer dollars than initial reports indicated, it became a no brainer to bring Jimmy back. But what then do you do with 22 year old Freddy Galvis and his (by most accounts) major league ready glove? Well, thankfully, someone in Phillies management has decided to put Galvis to use elsewhere around the infield.
First of all, the Phillies future at third base is a major question mark. Placido Polanco has a mutual option for $5.5M dollars but with declining production and health concerns, the $1M buyout seems to be a smarter idea. With no significant prospects in the pipeline, the Phillies will need to look towards free agency to fill that gap at the hot corner. Looking over the 2013 free agency class at third base, and the names are frightening. David Wright, a 34 year old Kevin Youkilis and a host of replacement level players. With the 2013 budget being tight before taking care of Cole Hamels or Shane Victorino, neither of those top third basemen are even possible. Getting Galvis some reps at third base is the perfect solution for both player and team. He has the arm strength to make the long throw from third and he had a much improved approach at the plate last season. Is Galvis the next Mike Schmidt? No, but for a guy who projects as a utility guy right now, he could be a 1-2 year stop gap at third until more talent is developed or salary can be added.
But for the more immediate future, molding Galvis into a more flexible infield option gives you a utility option that you can fall back on not named Michael Martinez! A Rule 5 pick last season that the Phillies kept on the squad for the entire season to avoid having to offer him back to the Nationals, Martinez opened his spring with a two error game on Sunday. And while he does have some competition in Pete Orr and Kevin Frandsen, Martinez seems to be the favorite for the utility role. Quite frankly, though, the Phillies are foolish to keep him around as a de facto incumbent to the utility infield job. Martinez does not hit for contact, doesn't have speed on the base paths, and has proven to be little more than average defensively. While conventional wisdom and recent history tells us that sending Galvis down to AAA for every day playing time is the most likely scenario, the fact that all four infield positions are significant injury concerns lends itself to the utility man seeing near regular playing time as it is. Should any of Rollins, Polanco, or Utley miss significant time, I'd rather see the un-proven Galvis log the 300 or so ABs that have gone to guys like Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez the last two years. The only value in a guy like Michael Martinez is his ability to play multiple positions, so working Galvis out around the infield just makes sense.