Freddy Galvis was so happy Friday afternoon to be traded to the Phillies that he almost felt bad for laughing when Baltimore’s general manager called him to break the news. He spent the first six years of his career with the Phillies, so it’s easy to imagine how Galvis felt this weekend in Pittsburgh to be wearing red again.
“It was amazing. Amazing,” Galvis said Sunday morning at PNC Park. “The first thing I did when I put my uniform on was go straight to the mirror and look at myself again. Man, it was amazing. It was a good moment for me and my family, too.”
Galvis signed with the Phils out of Venezuela when he was 16 years old. No Phillies player logged more games between 2012 and ‘17 than Galvis, who was a smooth-fielding shortstop and a clubhouse leader.
But when the Phillies believed they were ready to contend in 2018, Galvis was traded before the season to San Diego. Three years later, he’s back.
“I knew I would come back to Philadelphia. I had that feeling since I left here,” Galvis said. “I don’t know why. I don’t know if it will be for two months or if it will be for next year and the year after, but for sure I want to be here and I want to win a World Series with the Phillies. Right now, I’m going to enjoy this and play hard and help the team.”
Galvis has not played since June 26 because of a quadriceps strain, and the Phillies do not expect him to be ready until mid-August. Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said the team doesn’t want Galvis to rush back.
Galvis, who was on the injured list when the Phillies traded for him, should help improve the team’s infield defense when he’s activated.
He was one of baseball’s best defensive shortstops during his time with the Phillies, but his defense is a shade below average this season based on advanced metrics. Yet he would still be a defensive upgrade for the Phils.
The players on the left side of the infield — third baseman Alec Bohm and shortstop Didi Gregorius — are among the worst graded defenders in baseball. If those problems are still lingering in 10 days, the Phillies could turn to Galvis.
“Everything they want me to do,” Galvis said when asked how he could help the team. “I know I can help with my defense. I know I can help with my offense, too. I’ll just try to help everyone here and be on the same page with everyone and help this team win some games.”
Galvis, who is in his 10th MLB season, also brings experience. The Phillies have not reached the playoffs or even had a winning record since 2011. And Galvis is a link to that last great era in franchise history, as he reached the majors in 2012 just as that era was winding down.
“I was the connection. I played with the guys who won the last World Series with this team, and I know how they go about it and how they play the game and do all their stuff. They passed it to me,” Galvis said. “I always talked to Chooch [Carlos Ruiz]. I talked to Jimmy [Rollins]. I learned from Chase [Utley]. I learned from [Roy] Halladay and Cliff [Lee]. All those guys. I knew the mentality that they had to play.
“I’m the only person who has this knowledge right now. I was sad when I had to leave, but now I’m back and I feel like that’s what I need to be. I came here with this organization when I was 16 years old. All I know is the Phillies way.”
Galvis was sleeping Friday when Orioles general manager Mike Elias called him. He was going home, Elias told him. Maybe Galvis was still dreaming. Again, Elias told him he was going to Philadelphia.
Both of his daughters, Anastasia and Nicole, were born when he was with the Phillies. His younger one still sleeps with a Phillie Phanatic pillow and can’t wait to see the mascot again. Galvis — and his family — grew up in Phillies red. Now he’s back home.
“I don’t think I’m supposed to laugh and be happy to be leaving Baltimore, but I was going back to Philadelphia so I was really happy,” Galvis said. “I was talking to him and I was like ‘I feel bad.’ I called my family and told my wife, and she was really happy. My daughter was really happy. It’s been good, man. A lot of memories came to my mind really quickly, and I’m happy and grateful to be here.”