If they turn out to be the Orioles double-play combination, the club hopes to get solid glovework out of shortstop Freddy Galvis and second baseman Yolmer Sánchez. Galvis has been a Gold Glove finalist and Sánchez won the American League Gold Glove at second base in 2019, when he beat out the other finalists, New York’s DJ LeMahieu and Houston’s Jose Altuve.
O’s manager Brandon Hyde was asked recently about Sánchez, 28, mentoring younger players. Hyde said both Sánchez and Galvis are doing that.
“You see Freddy Galvis talking to our players a lot, too,” Hyde said. “Freddy Galvis, I saw a stat today where I think he’s played the fourth (most) in games at short since 2015, so he’s got a lot of experience and I see him talk to some of our younger players and younger infielders, which is huge. It’s huge from a coaching staff to have guys that are willing to help, be really good role models on the field.
“The player-to-player coaching sometimes is the best of any, because it can really hit home when one of your peers is giving you tips or just talking through situations, and I see both of those guys in the middle doing that with some of our younger infielders, and that’s extremely helpful.”
During a Zoom interview Friday, Galvis said the mentoring part was going well so far.
“It’s been good, man, so far. Everything has been good,” he said. “We try to communicate and talk baseball, about every situation that could happen in the game. That is part of being a good baseball player and a good teammate. Especially right now for me, I’m trying to get to know everybody, put some names with faces, and so far it’s been good. It’s coming naturally. Just talking baseball and try to help my teammates. They want to learn, they know they are young guys in the league. They want to learn some new stuff, so trying to win and help them every single day.”
The Orioles signed Galvis as a free agent in January for one year at $1.5 million with a bonus of $250,000 if he gets traded. For the 2020 Cincinnati Reds, over 47 games, he hit .220/.308/.404 with seven homers, 16 RBIs and a .712 OPS. In the last full season, 2019, he played in 147 games between Toronto and Cincinnati and batted .260/.296/.438 with 28 doubles, a triple, 23 homers, 70 RBIs and a .734 OPS. That year, he posted career highs in homers, RBIs and OPS.
He said the reason he wound up an Oriole was pretty simple from his standpoint.
“I have the opportunity to play,” he said. “That is the biggest thing, the chance to play and be the shortstop. When I got to the big leagues with Philadelphia, I had guys like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Plácido Polanco, Michael Young, and I had to wait a little bit to play. Since I was, like, 5 or 6, I’ve always played baseball and I love to be on the field. So I have a good opportunity here with Baltimore and man, I just took it. I feel good about that.”
During the 2019 season, Galvis played 115 games for the Toronto Blue Jays, batting .267/.299/.444/.743 with 24 doubles and 18 homers in 473 plate appearances. Now he’s back in the AL East.
“I think it’s the best division in baseball, for sure,” Galvis said. “You have to play all those guys. You have to play in Yankee Stadium, you have to play in Boston. Even if you’re good, when you go there, you’re going to feel that, for sure. So, that’s going to take the best of you. That is why I love this division. Every single day you have to compete. You have to play against really good teams, and in some ballparks with a lot of history. I love that, I enjoy that. The year I was with Toronto I really enjoyed that, and I was glad to come back to this division.”
For what it’s worth, a look at Galvis in his career against the other teams in the division:
* In 33 games against Boston - .270/.311/.444/.756.
* In 16 games versus New York - .206/.242/.333/.576.
* In 14 games against Tampa Bay - .213/.238/.410/.648.
* In 11 games versus Toronto - .108/.195/.162/.357.
Chris Davis speaks: In case we had forgotten - spoiler alert, no one had - anything about Chris Davis gets the fans stirred up. So when he made some comments on a Zoom interview yesterday, the fans got ... stirred up.
I get it and I guess that anything and everything he says is going to be criticized. He’s disappointed and let fans down by not living up to his contract, and they are always up for discussing that at any place and time.
Davis said he had made some swing changes this offseason.
“I did some things differently,” he said. “You’ll see it. It will be visible to the naked eye. I’m excited about it. I think there are a lot of really positive things going on around here and I feel like I have done substantial work to really step outside of my comfort zone and change some things. Mechanically, physically change some things about how I’m approaching my at-bats. It’s going to be weird, it’s going to be uncomfortable, but I think it’s overdue, to say the least.”
It is overdue, as Davis has been reluctant to change much despite his struggles, which date to 2018. His OPS fell to .337 last year in 55 plate appearances.
At this point, unless you are a close friend or related to Davis, you probably doubt he’ll ever play well again. And there are good reasons for you to doubt. Sure, he looked really good in spring training last year, but that won’t help him now.
Many fans want Davis gone, but you can’t wish away a contract. Until and unless the team is ready to make that move, he’s on the club. If he played well for the 2021 Orioles, it would be a surprise and maybe even shock a few people.
But that is where this stands. Davis talks. Fans angrily react. Davis plays poorly. This cycle has been going on for a while now. It’s up to him to change the script. At this point, he is the only one that can.