Galvis remains an option at shortstop for Phillies

Posted: December 03, 2011

Negotiations between the Phillies and shortstop Jimmy Rollins are expected to intensify at the winter meetings next week in Dallas.

While keeping Rollins is clearly the Phillies' top priority, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has continued to consider minor-league prospect Freddy Galvis as a viable alternative should the free-agent shortstop sign elsewhere.

Joe Jordan, the Phillies' new director of player development, recently watched the 22-year-old Galvis play for Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League and turned in a favorable scouting report to Amaro.

"I really liked the reports I have gotten from Joe Jordan on Galvis," Amaro said. "The reports were good on how he has progressed offensively."

In 32 games through Thursday, Galvis was hitting .248 with five doubles, three triples, and 14 RBIs. He was hitting .300 in his last 10 games.

Amaro said he was still in discussions with Rollins and other free-agent shortstops. He also conceded that there would be some risk in starting a rookie shortstop with no big-league and limited triple-A experience on a team with World Series aspirations.

"You never know how a guy is going to react, but we like his maturity level and makeup," Amaro said. "But, of course, there is a risk, especially when you're talking about replacing a guy who has arguably been the most steady shortstop in the game for many, many years.

"But I'm not afraid to take a risk. I look back at Kevin Stocker and think about how steady he was defensively and how much better offensively he was than anticipated."

With the Phillies in desperate need of a shortstop who could consistently catch the ball in 1993, Stocker was called up from triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and stabilized the position on a team that reached the World Series. He was hitting just .233 in triple A when he joined the Phillies, but ended up batting .324 in 70 games as a rookie.

Stocker was 23 at the time and never repeated that offensive success. Galvis had been a major offensive question mark before hitting a combined .278 at double-A Reading and triple-A Lehigh Valley last season. Galvis committed 19 errors in 137 games, but is considered to be a major-league-ready shortstop defensively.

If Rollins does not re-sign with the Phillies and the team decides Galvis needs more seasoning at triple A, Amaro may opt to sign a veteran free agent to a short-term deal. Some of those options include Alex Gonzalez, Rafael Furcal, Edgar Renteria, and Orlando Cabrera.

It remains highly unlikely that the Phillies will sign Jose Reyes, the premier shortstop on the free-agent market.

Howard's rehab. Amaro said Ryan Howard is scheduled to begin some weight-bearing activities in the middle of the month on his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon.

Howard suffered that injury in his season-ending at-bat during the Phillies' Game 5 loss to St. Louis in the division series. He is currently wearing a protective boot.

"He seems to be progressing OK," Amaro said. "When he starts doing more weight-bearing stuff, we should get a better indication of what the time frame will be [for his return]. Hopefully by the middle of this month, he'll start doing those weight-bearing things."

It has been estimated that Howard will be sidelined until at least May.

It's unclear how the Phillies plan to replace Howard if he is not ready to begin the season, but recently acquired Ty Wigginton is probably the primary option right now. Wigginton has started 114 games at first base over the last two seasons with Baltimore and Colorado.

Polanco progressing. Amaro said all indications are that third baseman Placido Polanco will be ready for opening day after undergoing double hernia surgery shortly after the season ended.

Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at or @brookob on Twitter.


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