TODAY: Galvis’ deal could pay him up to $6MM, according to reports out of Japan (hat tip to The Associated Press).
DEC. 12: Galvis has agreed to a two-year contract, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter).
DEC. 4: Infielder Freddy Galvis appears to be close to a move overseas, as reports from Yahoo Japan indicate that Galvis is nearing a contract with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball.
Should the move be finalized, it would count as a bit of a surprise. While there hadn’t been much buzz about Galvis’ free agent market to date, he was widely expected to generate interest either for either contending or non-contending teams that were looking for a lower-cost middle infield option.
Instead, a move to Japan indicates that perhaps Galvis was worried about being caught up in a signing crunch that may take place for mid-to-lower tier free agents once the lockout ends. The sheer volume of players looking for jobs may force some to settle for smaller guaranteed salaries or even minor league contracts. If the Hawks are offering more security in the form of a multi-year contract and a guaranteed salary, taking such a deal would allow Galvis to sidestep the lockout entirely and instead focus only on his on-field preparations for 2022 (albeit in a whole new country and new league).
Galvis hit .242/.302/.407 with 14 home runs over 394 combined plate appearances with the Orioles and Phillies in 2021. After signing a one-year, $1.5MM deal with Baltimore last winter, he was dealt to the Phils at the trade deadline, despite still being on the injured list recovering from a right quad strain. Galvis ended up missing close to two months of the regular season, and his 104 games played represents his lowest total (2020 excepted) since he played 43 games in 2014.
The 32-year-old Galvis has been an everyday player for most of the last seven seasons, playing as an every shortstop (with significant chunks of time as a second baseman and third baseman) with the Padres, Blue Jays, Reds, Orioles, and in two different stints in Philadelphia. With a modest .246/.292/.387 slash line over 4238 PA, Galvis relied more on strong glovework and some decent baserunning over his career, though he has shown some power on occasion, including a 23-homer season in 2019.
Most of the headlines about the offseason shortstop market have naturally focused on the superstars available in free agency, with Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Javier Baez, and Chris Taylor already finding new teams. Carlos Correa and Trevor Story remain among the big-ticket names, and some clubs might wait to see where those two sign before attention can fully turn to the next tier of available shortstops. With Galvis perhaps gone to the Hawks, it creates more opportunity for the likes of Andrelton Simmons, Jose Iglesias, or Jonathan Villar to find regular jobs with MLB teams that either miss out on Correa/Story or couldn’t afford them in the first place.