PITTSBURGH – It was weird, Freddy Galvis said three years ago, to return to South Philadelphia and walk past the entrance to the home clubhouse. He signed with the Phillies as a 15-year-old in Venezuela, reached the majors just as the franchise’s last great era was finishing, and was traded away as a veteran shortstop after six seasons.
Galvis grew up with the Phillies, so returning to Citizens Bank Park, he said in the summer of 2018, would always “be a special moment.”
Soon those special moments will return after the Phillies acquired Galvis on Friday from Baltimore in the closing minutes of baseball’s trade deadline. When Galvis returns, he will find a team that has still not reached the postseason nor found reliable defense at shortstop since his departure.
The 31-year-old is on the injured list with a strained right quadriceps and has not played since June 26. He was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment this weekend with Baltimore and the Phillies think he should be ready by the middle of August.
The Phillies sent minor-league reliever Tyler Burch to Baltimore. The 23-year-old right-hander had a 3.99 ERA this season in 23 appearances with single-A Clearwater and high-A Jersey Shore.
Since leaving the Phillies, Galvis has played for four teams -- San Diego, Toronto, Cincinnati, and Baltimore -- while hitting .250 with a .709 OPS.
The Phillies have been troubled this season by their infield defense as shortstop Didi Gregorius and third baseman Alec Bohm are among the worst-graded fielders at their positions. Galvis can play shortstop and second base and is still considered a strong defender despite not grading well there the last two seasons.
“We can see how things continue to progress,” Dombrowski said. “Didi is a good player. He’s been up and down this year. This gives us another alternative in addition to who we already have on our roster for someone else to play shortstop. That alternative is there. The one good thing about Freddy is he can play a bunch of different positions. We don’t have to make any declarations. We can let that all play out. We know Didi is a better player than he’s been playing so far and I think he’ll step up.”
Galvis reached the majors in 2012 as the team’s opening-day replacement for Chase Utley, who started the season on the injured list. The Phillies won 102 games a season earlier, but the end was near. Galvis played more games than any other Phillies player between 2012 and 2017, a six-year stretch of down seasons with the hopes of building another contender.
When the Phils thought they were ready to contend, Galvis was deemed expendable and traded to San Diego before the 2018 season. Three years later, he’s back. And the Phillies are still trying to break through.