For the last few years, fans of the Philadelphia Phillies have noticed one thing about young shortstop Freddy Galvis: The guy can really field his position.
The thought always was that Galvis was a great-field, no-hit, career backup. Something has happened this winter that might have changed that line of thinking as Galvis has proven he can hit. It’s only a 50-game sample in the tough Venezuelan Winter League, but it certainly should cause one guy pause in incumbent shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
Rollins, 35, at least in the past two years, has become in the twilight of his career someone that Galvis was in the sunrise of his: A good field, no-hit, guy. On a team that ranked No. 26 in runs scored, the Phillies cannot afford to carry that kind of hole in their lineup anymore — not when the backup is as good a fielder and might be a more productive hitter at this point of his career.
If Galvis, 24, can even approach his numbers in Winter Ball, .306 batting average and two home runs, 11 doubles and 23 RBI, expect new full-time manager Ryne Sandberg to pull the trigger and replace at least one aging part of his lineup with youth.
Plus, Rollins doesn’t have the protection of Charlie Manuel anymore. Rollins was a favorite of Manuel who often looked the other way when Rollins would jog down to first on ground balls even to the deep infield. Sandberg silently seethed when Rollins pulled that trick down the stretch last year and often sat him the next day when it happened.
Galvis is a more old-school hustle guy who has become a fan favorite because of that style of play. If he can hit this spring the way he did this winter, Rollins’ job could be in jeopardy. Heck, maybe the competition will finally wake him from a two-year hitting slumber.