Signing Freddy Galvis means the Blue Jays are one step closer to addressing their defensive deficiencies
The Toronto Blue Jays were not very good defensively last season. They were 22nd in baseball with 0.63 errors per game and 28th in baseball with an opponent’s BABIP of .308. They were 24th in baseball with a +123 opponent’s run differential. Needless to say, the club needed to address this concern this offseason. And, up until yesterday, they had only subtracted from their infield defense, bidding adieu to Yangervis Solarte, Troy Tulowitzki and Aledmys Diaz.
It looked as though Ross Atkins would be trusting the combination of Lourdes Gurriel Jr.and Devon Travis to carry the load up the middle with Brandon Drury giving way to Vladimir Guerrero Jr at some point. That left Richard Urena to be the back up infielder. This might have been a little troubling considering the following numbers:
Gurriel- SS: -9 DRS/ -18 UZR/150 2B: -3 DRS/ -1.4 UZR/150
Travis- 2B: -6 DRS/ -12.5 UZR/150
Urena- SS: 1 DRS/ -2.8 UZR/150 2B: -1 DRS/ 2.9 UZR/150
Drury- 3B: -1 DRS/ -10 UZR/150 2B: 0 DRS/ 21.1 UZR/150
Obviously, we have to throw the old “small sample size” caveat on a lot of the above numbers. Drury’s sample of 40 innings at second base has to be taken rather lightly. The same can be said for Urena and Gurriel, to an extent. None of these guys, save for Travis, has had much of an extended opportunity to provide a real sense of their defensive performance. We’ve seen glimpses, though and those small samples don’t exactly instill a lot of confidence. Even the case of Travis is questionable since he had been improving his defense every year up until last. So, it is no exaggeration to say this team needed help.
Along comes Freddy Galvis and things are looking a little more solid. Galvis comes with a decent history of performing well out of the shortstop position. The bulk of his playing time has been there and produced 7 DRS last year. His UZR/150 (-3.8) took a bit of a dip in 2018, but was 3.2 in 2017 and 14.8 in 2016. Out of 275 plays made last year, 83 were made out of the “zone”. He made 9 errors in 1400 total innings.
However, Galvis doesn’t just play the one position. He has also played second base where he made 3 errors in 692 career innings. His career DRS is 4 and his UZR/150 is 10.1. He’s played passable third base, but collected far fewer innings doing so. He has also been used in the outfield. For his career, he has put up 7.2 fWAR thanks to a Def rating of 53.1.
Galvis represents the first real attempt of the offseason to address defensive deficiencies by the Toronto Blue Jays. Sure, it creates a bit more competition in the infield, but that is a good thing. Rather than having to rely on the group they had, they add an affordable glove to the mix. This means that should one of Travis or Urena struggle, Galvis sees everyday playing time. We know that Gurriel is not going anywhere any time soon. His bat has the club willing to let him ride out some down times. For Devon Travis, his situation might be a bit less comfortable. With Galvis and Drury both able to play second well, Travis is going to have to prove he is healthy and stay at the top of his game. If he does, that likely means that Urena is the odd one out.
Now, injuries happen and the Toronto Blue Jays are far from a complete club. So, there is likely more work to be done before the season starts. But, for the time being, the front office has addressed their need for defense. They were looking for somebody to glove and they finally landed Galvis after trying last year. Now, if only they can do something to address the outfield defense…
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.