The Orioles solved one of their main challenges heading into spring training by finding an everyday shortstop.
The team signed veteran Freddy Galvis to a one-year deal reportedly worth $1.5 million to replace José Iglesias, who was traded to the Los Angeles Angels in December.
Galvis, 31, also would reportedly receive a $250,000 bonus if the rebuilding club decides to flip him to another team pushing for a playoff spot this summer. The trade clause was a key component of the transaction, according to general manager Mike Elias.
Galvis chose to sign with the Orioles as opposed to exploring options with other clubs.
“We’ve got an attractive opportunity for a player like Freddy Galvis where you come in, you’re a leader on the roster, you’re a starter,” Elias said in a Zoom meeting with reporters Jan. 27. “We’ve got a fun, competitive, high-profile division to play in. We’ve got a fun park to hit in, especially for him — a guy with some left-handed pop.
“People want to come and be the starting shortstop for the Orioles, and I think that played to our advantage. He was very interested in our job. I know he took it over some other opportunities.”
Galvis, who has also spent time with Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds, has hit .247/.291/.385 across nine major-league seasons and has a deft glove. Last season, he batted .220/.308/.404 with five doubles and seven home runs with Cincinnati.
“I love to be on the field,” Galvis said about an hour after Elias met with the media. “Every time I go to the field, I expect to play, I expect to put on my uniform and do my best. It’s a short career. You can play, I don’t know, 10, 15, 20 years. After that, you’re not going to play baseball anymore, and this is what I love to do.”
The signing of Galvis came at a fortunate time for the Orioles. Elias disclosed that fellow shortstop Richie Martin broke the hamate bone in his left hand and will undergo surgery in Sarasota, Fla. Elias does expect Martin to rejoin game activity by March.
“This [injury] happened after we reached the agreement with Galvis, so it’s unrelated,” Elias said. “Certainly having signed Galvis now, I think we can breathe a little easier knowing we’re not going to be able to see Richie now for about five weeks. But shouldn’t impact his regular season.”
The addition of Galvis further solidifies the Orioles infield. Yolmer Sanchez, a former Gold Glove winner acquired earlier this offseason, is expected to be the everyday second baseman with Rio Ruiz is back at third base. Elias expects Trey Mancini to spend a bulk of his time at first base, which likely means fewer at-bats for the struggling Chris Davis.
“He’s 100 percent,” Elias said of Mancini. “He’s looking great. We’re just super excited to see him in Sarasota. I think he’s going to go right back to hitting in the middle of our lineup.”
The Orioles are not finished building their roster. Elias said the team is looking to add a veteran outfielder in a minor-league deal, infield depth and perhaps more pitching. The Orioles are also listening to offers for players on their 40-man roster.
“It doesn’t mean we’re going to do anything,” Elias added.