DALLAS - Even if Jimmy Rollins ends up leaving Philadelphia, it is hard to envision the Phillies replacing him with a 22-year-old prospect who until last season had never hit higher than .240 in the minors. More likely, the team would look for a low-cost option, either through free agency or a trade, to pair with Wilson Valdez or Michael Martinez.
Still, there is plenty of intrigue about Freddy Galvis among the Phillies brass. He has been hailed as a defensive whiz with a big-league-caliber glove since he was an 18-year-old at low-A Lakewood in 2008. Amaro played it safe in his projection of Galvis yesterday.
"It's hard to predict what a 21-, 22-year-old would do in that situation, but from our experience I think that he is going to be at least an average defensive shortstop, and can get better as he grows up and understands the speed of the game and understands the hitters," Amaro said. "His aptitude is excellent. His instincts are very, very good. He's got good feet, he's got good hands, he's got a great mindset. He thinks the game well."
Galvis is a career .246/.292/.321 hitter in the minors, but he had a solid campaign in 2011, hitting .278/.324/.392 while showing better power at Double A Reading and Triple A Lehigh Valley.
"Charlie says it all the time, it's hard to be an everyday major league player," Amaro said. "It is not easy to do, especially if he has to replace a guy like Jimmy Rollins. It is not an easy task. But he's got a good head on his shoulders, I think he believes in himself, he's confident - is he ready to be a major league shortstop every day for the Phillies? I couldn't predict that. But he has the tools and the makeup I think to grow into that."
Confidence in Mayberry
Amaro was asked whether it would be a risk to enter the season without an experienced regular to provide some insurance for John Mayberry Jr., who hit 15 home runs in a rotational role last season but has never been an everyday player.
Amaro acknowledged the risk, but also said that Mayberry's development reminds him of Jayson Werth, a late-bloomer who became a big part of the Phillies' 2007-10 teams.
"I think there are some people who think he can go out there, and he earned the chance to play every day," Amaro said. "I think there are other people who think he needs a little protection. John's a really good athlete. He's a guy that when you scout him as an amateur, when you watch him develop, he's got a lot of tools that you kind of look for, a lot of ingredients that you look for in a major league player."
Amaro continued: "There are some parallels to what happened with Jayson Werth. Jayson was an outstanding athlete, tall, lanky, good speed, good athelticism, took him awhile to really hone his skill, especially offensively. I view John Mayberry in the same sort of way. I think he's just starting to gain confidence and just starting to put things together. Is he going to be as productive as Jayson? I don't know that. But he seems like he is kind of on his way to being a good, sound, major league player.
"I personally like John because of his athleticism, the way he doesn't panic out there defensively, the way he can play a variety of positions above-average across the board."
The Phillies have yet to announce the signing of Laynce Nix, whom a baseball source said agreed to a 2-year contract on Sunday. Fox Sports reported yesterday that the deal is worth $2.5 million . . . The Phillies are one of several teams who have scouted Cuban prospect Yoenis Cespedes, who is expected to be declared a free agent at some point this offseason. Amaro said yesterday he did not know the kind of contract Cespedes, an outfielder, will be seeking.