With Spring Training on the horizon, MLB.com is taking an in-depth look at the 2018 Padres, breaking the team down position-by-position. Today, we preview San Diego's shortstops.
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SAN DIEGO -- Freddy Galvis arrived last month via trade with Philadelphia, and he's entering his final season under contract. On the surface, the former Phillie is yet another stopgap shortstop for the Padres.
Dig a little deeper, however, and there are plenty of reasons to believe the Friars' seemingly annual shortstop search has produced different results this time.
First, the 28-year-old Galvis remains in his prime. In each of the past three offseasons, Padres general manager A.J. Preller inked an aging one-year option to a free-agent deal. Those signings -- Clint Barmes in 2015, Alexei Ramirez in '16 and Erick Aybar in '17 -- all underwhelmed.
Meanwhile, Galvis arrives as a standout defender, sure to be a boon to the Majors' most ground-ball-happy rotation. A year ago, Luis Perdomo and Clayton Richard ranked 1 and 2 in the National League in ground-ball rate. But both were hindered by poor infield play.
Offensively, Galvis' .309 on-base percentage in 2017 was the best mark of his career. He's a lifetime .245 hitter, but the Padres feel he has room to grow. As a defense-first shortstop, Galvis' offensive contributions will be mostly viewed as a bonus.
"He's a guy that we view as a very good defensive player, a leader on the field, which is what you want from the shortstop position," Preller said following last month's trade. "He's got tremendous hands, a great release. From an offensive standpoint ... there's tremendous growth in there."
Of course, there's another reason this offseason feels different in the Padres' decade-long quest to find their shortstop of the future. Fernando Tatis Jr., ranked the club's No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline, burst onto the scene in 2017. He earned a promotion to Double-A in his age 18 season after setting the franchise home-run record at Class A Fort Wayne.
Tatis is widely regarded as one of the best shortstop prospects in the game. Thus, when the Padres acquired a one-year shortstop solution in Galvis, they did so with an eye on the future. Tatis could make an impact as soon as 2019.
That doesn't necessarily mean Galvis will be gone by then. The Padres appear very interested in keeping him on board long-term, though they'd likely ask him to fill something closer to a utility role.
"We have a chance to get around Freddy, watch him play, see him, evaluate [him]," Preller said. "I don't think it necessarily has to be only a one-year fit. But when other guys push to make the big league club, you're not locked into a three- or four-year commitment."
Behind Galvis, there's no obvious answer for the backup job. Journeyman Dusty Coleman received a big league invite to Spring Training. He's probably the favorite on paper, with youngsters Luis Urias and Allen Cordoba likely destined for a bit more seasoning in the Minors.
Projected starter: Galvis
Potential backups: Coleman, Cordoba, Urias
Top-30 prospects: No. 3 Urias, No. 4 Tatis, No. 15 Gabriel Arias, No. 18 Luis Almanzar, No. 25 Jordy Barley.