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Blue Jays sign Freddy Galvis to one-year deal with club option for 2020

The veteran shortstop adds some stability to Toronto’s infield.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres Photo by Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays have signed shortstop Freddy Galvis to a one-year deal with a club option for 2020, per a club announcement Tuesday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand report that he’ll earn $4 million this season, with a $5.5 million option or a $1 million buyout in 2020:

Galvis, 29, has long been regarded as a player who is better with the glove than the bat, first breaking into the majors as a defensively-disciplined utility man with the Phillies and eventually thriving in the field when pressed into a full-time role at shortstop, first for Philadelphia and then for the Padres. He’s been an ironman, playing in 324 straight games and starting all 162 last season, and while his range wasn’t exceptional in 2018, he continued to avoid mistakes in the field, collecting seven defensive runs saved.

Galvis’ offensive numbers in 2018 were roughly in line with his career averages, which aren’t great. He had a .248/.299/.380 slash line over 656 plate appearances for the Padres, compared to a .246/.290/.374 line over his seven major-league seasons. On the bright side, he has found ways to make an impact with his power and speed over the last few years. He has three straight seasons with double-digit homers, including 13 last season while playing his home games at Petco Park, which is by no means a hitters’ paradise. And after stealing just two bases over his first three big-league seasons, he’s stolen 49 over the last four years, including eight in 2018.

As they undergo a youth movement, it seems more likely than not that the Blue Jays will give Lourdes Gurriel Jr. the first crack at their starting shortstop job, with Galvis backing up both middle-infield spots. If the 25-year-old Gurriel struggles early in the season, though, Galvis will be a reliable replacement at short, at least until highly-regarded prospect Bo Bichette is major-league ready, which doesn’t seem likely until midseason at the earliest, seeing as he hasn’t played in a Triple-A game yet.

The most important aspect of this deal is that Galvis gives Toronto some reliable depth all along the infield. The Blue Jays were clearly lacking that type of depth after trading Aledmys Diaz and (thus far) failing to re-sign Yangervis Solarte as a free agent this offseason, and with Devon Travis never having played in more than 103 games in a season, that depth is very much needed at second base.