Results tagged ‘ Freddy Galvis ’
They settled on their utility infielders today.
They announced they had released Yuniesky Betancourt as requested. He had hit .447 (21-for-47) with three doubles, one home run, 14 RBIs, a .451 on-base percentage and a .574 slugging percentage in 18 Grapefruit League games. The Phillies had signed Betancourt to a Minor League contract with an opt-out clause, stating they had to place him on the big-league roster by Sunday or release him if he requested it. His agent Alex Esteban said Betancourt officially requested his release.
The Phillies essentially chose Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen over Betancourt.
“This was the evaluation, right or wrong, of what we thought was best for our club,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Better to have this decision — too many players — than not having enough.”
Ruben Amaro Jr. said today the competition for the team’s two utility infield jobs remains wide open with less than a week remaining before they need to make a decision.
Freddy Galvis, Kevin Frandsen and Yuniesky Betancourt are fighting for those jobs, but because Betancourt has an opt-clause he must be informed by Sunday if he has made the 25-man roster. If he has not, he can ask to be released.
Galvis is hitting .273 (15-for-55) with six doubles, one triple, two home runs and eight RBIs. He is the best defender of the three, and Charlie Manuel has been vocal in his support. Frandsen has had a good spring offensively, hitting .298 (14-for-47) with four doubles, one triple, two home runs and six RBIs. Betancourt went 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs in today’s 17-10 loss to the Braves at Champion Stadium. He is hitting .450 (18-for-40) with three doubles and nine RBIs.
“I think they’ve all played well enough to be on our club, so it has to be wide open,” Amaro said, “Defense is still important, but obviously it’s the total package of the player. All three of them have played very well. I’m happy with all three of them.”
Asked if he can make up his mind in the next six days, Manuel said, “I can make up my mind in two seconds.”
But has he?
“No, I haven’t,” Manuel said. “Everything comes into play. It kind of depends on where we want to go and what we see on our team. Really. We’ve got a good battle there, man.”
The Phillies signed Yuniesky Betancourt to a Minor League contract in January, and my Twitter feed quickly filled with stunned-and-confused comments about it. I guess it’s one of those things that happens these days. The Phillies sign a guy for organizational depth at relatively low cost and minimal risk and people freak out because he has a career .290 on-base percentage.
I mean, we’re talking about the 25th man on the big-league roster or Lehigh Valley’s possible everyday shortstop, but whatever …
But an interesting thing is happening in Clearwater: Betancourt is playing well and he could get one of the team’s two utility infield jobs.
What is especially interesting about the battle among Betancourt, Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis is Betancourt has an earlier than usual opt-out clause for March 24. The Phillies must tell Betancourt by that date if he has made the 25-man roster. If he has not made the team, he can ask to be released. March 24 is a full week before the Phillies play their final exhibition game, so the Phillies will have to decide on that before they theoretically come to conclusions about the final three bullpen jobs or outfield situation. Like I wrote yesterday, I would not be surprised to see Betancourt and Frandsen start the season with the team. Galvis can be optioned to Triple-A, where he could get more seasoning with the IronPigs. Meanwhile, Betancourt and Frandsen can show what they’ve got with the Phillies. If either struggles, the Phillies could recall Galvis at that point.
Interestingly, Ruben Amaro Jr. said Betancourt’s ability to play defense is key. That’s interesting because Galvis unquestionably is the best defensive player of the three, but the fact he has options and the others don’t could tilt the jobs in their favor.
“You could probably say right now, even though he’s a young player, he’d probably be the most reliable guy [defensively],” Amaro said of Galvis. “But again, Yuniesky has got a lot of experience. It depends on how [Betancourt] performs. We’re not making any decisions today. We don’t have to make any decision for several weeks, so we’re OK.”
Will your head explode if Betancourt makes the team? If you said yes, take a deep breath and relax. Like I said, we’re talking about the last bench player here. The Phillies won the World Series with So Taguchi‘s .580 OPS on the bench in 2008. They won a National League pennant with Eric Bruntlett‘s .462 OPS on the bench in 2009. And they won a franchise-record 102 games with Michael Martinez‘s .540 OPS on the bench in 2011.
I’m not really sure which way the Phillies will go, but Betancourt is playing well enough early to make the front office think long and hard about it.
I think the reality is most jobs are guaranteed, or very close to locks. He said there could be a competition for a fifth starter, but let’s call John Lannan the heavy, heavy favorite for that spot. I just don’t see him not making the rotation, unless there is an injury. I think it’s more realistic to say there are three openings in the bullpen, an opening or two in the outfield (depending on Delmon Young‘s health) and maybe an opening for a utility infield job, although Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen are the early favorites for those two spots (Yuniesky Betancourt could make things interesting, however.)
Galvis is coming off an interesting season. He made his mark as a defensive whiz at second base, but also fractured his back and served a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a metabolite of Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Galvis said in a statement at the time: “A trace amount of a banned substance – 80 parts in a trillion – was detected in my urine sample. I am extremely disappointed in what has transpired. I cannot understand how even this tiny particle of a banned substance got into my body. I have not and never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance. I have always tried to follow the team’s strength and conditioning methods, listen to the trainers, work out hard and eat right. Unfortunately, the rules are the rules and I will be suspended.”
Galvis reflected on the suspension yesterday.
“It was tough, man,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t do stuff and you pay for it. Like I said before, that’s life and you have to move on. Sometimes when you don’t do nothing and the blame you, that’s bad stuff, but they have rules and you have to follow the rules. But that’s in the past right now. Right now I’m focused on 2013.”
Galvis hit .226 with 15 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 24 RBIs and a .617 OPS in 200 plate appearances last season. He said he can succeed without PEDs, and is not concerned about proving anything to anybody.
“I don’t really care what people think about me,” he said. “I just care what I have to do here for the team and to win games. I’m not a guy who hits homers. I just try to put the ball in play, move the runner, bunt, sometimes hit in the game. That’s my game. I don’t try to hit homers. I try to play every day and prove to the team I can play baseball.”
Galvis is doing daily maintenance on his back, which he said he will have to do the remainder of his career. If he stays healthy, he seems like a strong bet to make the team because of his defensive abilities. This spring he should see time at shortstop (his natural position), second base and third base. He hasn’t played much third base before, but he thinks he can handle it.
“I think if you gave me a glove I think I could do it,” he said.
The Phillies announced today they have signed infielder Yuniesky Betancourt to a Minor League contract.
The deal includes an invitation to big-league camp in Clearwater, Fla.
“Just to give us some depth,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “I think that some competition for one of the utility spots. We have Freddy (Galvis) and (Kevin) Frandsen who have a chance to be on the club and so does Yuni. He’s got some experience and background. We’ll see how it goes. It gives us some depth.”
Betancourt, 30, hit .228 with 14 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 36 RBIs in 57 games last season with the Kansas City Royals. He played 46 games at second base, eight at third base and one at shortstop. He hit .308 with eight doubles, seven home runs and 22 RBIs in 26 games in Winter Ball in Mexico.
Betancourt provides the organization additional infield depth. If healthy, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young will be the Phillies’ everyday infielders. Frandsen, who hit .338 with an .834 OPS in 55 games last season, and Galvis, who is a defensive whiz, are the favorites to come off the bench.
“I am sort of anxious to see him work out and play and stuff,” Charlie Manuel said of Betancourt. “You know, I have always liked his tools. I think that with the talent that he has, going into spring training, it gives us more competition.”
Also in camp as Non-Roster Invitees are infielders Josh Fields, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez, Andres Blanco and Cody Asche.
In 1,019 games in the big leagues with Seattle, Kansas City and Milwaukee, Betancourt has hit .266 with a .290 on-base percentage, .392 slugging percentage and .682 OPS.
A few notes today regarding the Phillies:
- The Blue Jays claimed right-hander Tyson Brummett off waivers. Brummett spent most of the season with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley before making his big-league debut with the Phillies on Oct. 3.
- The Phillies outrighted infielder Pete Orr and catcher Steve Lerud from the 40-man roster. The Phillies have 37 players on the roster, plus four players on the 60-day disabled list.
- Phillies third base prospect Cody Asche is hitting .360 with four doubles and three RBIs in six games in the Arizona Fall League. Infielder Freddy Galvis is hitting .460 with one double, one triple, three home runs and five RBIs in Winter Ball in Venezuela. Outfield prospect Tyson Gillies has hit .467 with one double, one triple and two RBIs in four games in Venezuela. Darin Ruf is hitting .133 in four games in Venezuela.
- Phillies hitting coach Steve Henderson will wear No. 5 next season. Assistant hitting coach Wally Joyner will wear No. 21. Bullpen coach Rod Nichols will wear No. 54. And third base coach Ryne Sandberg will wear No. 23, assuming catcher Brian Schneider does not return next season.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Charlie Manuel said Friday at Marlins Park that Utley will not play third base before the end of the season, leaving the Phillies’ future at the position murky. Utley initiated the idea of a move from second to third and had been working out there for weeks, but the Phillies decided they could not make a credible evaluation about his ability to play there on a long-term basis in just six games.
“It’s kind of on hold, I guess,” Amaro said. “It’s more of a matter of practicality and what’s really best for the team overall. I think while having that option would be helpful, I don’t know if it’s really an option that’s going to make us necessarily better.”
That seems to put the Phillies in a tough spot.
Amaro has made it clear the free agent market for third basemen is not impressive. It is a list that includes Kevin Youkilis, Scott Rolen and Brandon Inge. The Phillies could try to trade for a third baseman, but good luck getting somebody like Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres. Internally, the Phillies seem to view Kevin Frandsen as a part-time player, while Freddy Galvis, who would have been the team’s second baseman had Utley made the switch, has never played third base.
“It doesn’t really change things all that much,” Amaro insisted. “It can be revisited, with Chase being an option. It just doesn’t make any sense for us to have him out there for six games and think that that’s going to change our minds one way or another. It’s not a dead issue. It’s just kind of unfair to the player and to us to think we can make an evaluation in six games and say, ‘OK, shazam, this guy can play.’ That’s not necessarily fair to him. We’re not good enough scouts to make that determination.”
Amaro and Manuel are meeting with players before the end of the season. They met Friday with Utley and Jimmy Rollins.
Amaro said Utley was OK with their decision to keep him at second.
“He’s fine,” Amaro said. “He only came to us because he thought it might help our club, because he knows it’s an area of need.”
Asked about his No. 1 priority this offseason, Amaro said, “I don’t know if we have a No. 1. I think offense is important to us. I’d like to create some balance from the right side offensively. I think that’s something that would help. Having a healthy Chooch (Carlos Ruiz) would help that, but he gets banged up so we have to be cognizant of that. Third base is an issue we have to deal with. I think while we have some very, very good arms in the bullpen we’ll keep an eye on that as well.”
But Amaro also said the Phillies might need to be creative to fill some holes this offseason. Rather than maybe spending big money on the big name on the free agent market, perhaps they will spend more judiciously.
“I think patience is going to be important throughout this offseason,” he said. “And the reason that I say that is some of the opportunities that will present themselves … none of the opportunities that present themselves, at least at first blush, are all that fantastic. I think we’re going to have to, as far as the availability of all players, I think we’re going to have to be creative to try to improve. There are only a few standout guys out there that would be potential free agents.”
Maybe the Phillies look to Galvis to play third base. They had said Galvis would be the second baseman if Utley played third, so they could simply switch spots.
“He did work out there during Spring Training,” Amaro said. “And overall, pretty good reviews on how he handled it. He didn’t do it in any games. But the man went from short to second and was awesome. And now … I don’t know if it’s that much of a stretch to move him to third base and not think he’d be a plus defender.”
Amaro and Manuel said they would keep the door open on Utley trying third base again. Perhaps Utley will spend his offseason working out there and want to give it a shot in Spring Training.
“If you stop and think about it, he definitely has a big say in it,” Manuel said. “He has to feel comfortable, really good about it. He would do anything to win, but … we’ll just see. It’ll always be there if we want to do that.”
But for now the Phillies will go into the offseason looking for a third baseman.
- Utley feels comfortable enough to play there.
- The Phillies fall from contention in the National League Wild Card race. That could happen quickly. The Phillies entered Monday’s series opener against the Mets at Citi Field four games out of the second National League Wild Card with just 15 games to play.
“I think I’ve been out there three or four times,” Utley said, referring to his pregame workouts at third base. “Every time I get a little more comfortable. But I think there’s still a lot of work to be done. So far it’s going well. I feel like I’ve progressed a little bit, but there’s still more room for improvement.”
Utley is taking this potential move seriously. He spoke with Ruben Amaro Jr. and Charlie Manuel in Manuel’s office before batting practice. He later spoke with Mets third baseman David Wright behind the batting cage with Wright even crouching into a defensive position as he offered advice.
“I think he’s doing fine,” Amaro said of Utley.
Fine enough to play third base next season?
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Amaro said.
Asked if the Phillies can learn enough about Utley at third base if he plays just a couple games there before the end of the season, Amaro said, “Realistically, I don’t think so. But if he really dedicates himself to doing it, I think the probability of him being able to do it is much higher than it is with other people. I think more than anything else this is finding out if in fact he feels comfortable enough doing it. Having him play third base just gives us another option. And what’s wrong with giving us another option?”
Both Amaro and Manuel agree the Phillies are better defensively in 2013 with Freddy Galvis at second base and Utley at third base, despite the uncertainty of Utley’s ability to play there. Certainly if they feel Utley can play third base it would give the Phillies one less thing to worry about in the offseason, which would be a plus because Amaro said the market for third basemen via trade or free agency is “not very good.”
But here’s the big question: If Utley only plays a couple games at third base and Amaro does not think he can truly evaluate Utley’s ability to play there based on just a couple games, how do the Phillies go into the offseason knowing Utley is their 2013 third baseman?
“I don’t necessarily,” Amaro said. “It becomes riskier. Then you take a risk sometimes. Sometimes it’s OK to take a risk.”
Major League Baseball announced today that Freddy Galvis, who has impressed the organization and fans with his brilliant defense and on-field smarts, has been suspended 50 games for testing positive for a metabolite of Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The suspension began today, even with Galvis on the disabled list with a pars fracture in his back that likely would have had him sidelined the next 50 games anyway. Nobody could say if Galvis appealed the league’s decision, but MLB would not make the announcement if Galvis was in the middle of an appeal. Either he lost his appeal or he never appealed.
Not surprisingly, Galvis claimed innocence in a statement:
“A trace amount of a banned substance – 80 parts in a trillion – was detected in my urine sample. I am extremely disappointed in what has transpired. I cannot understand how even this tiny particle of a banned substance got into my body. I have not and never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance. I have always tried to follow the team’s strength and conditioning methods, listen to the trainers, work out hard and eat right. Unfortunately, the rules are the rules and I will be suspended.”
Galvis later said on Twitter: “Sometimes life isn’t fair… But that’s the way it is… You have to keep moving forward and turn the page.”
Galvis was hitting only .226 with 15 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 24 RBIs and a .617 on-base plus slugging percentage in 58 games before he went on the DL on June 6. He doesn’t fit the mold of the typical bulked-up power hitter, but Galvis credited increased strength over the past year or so for his improved performance at the plate.
Galvis never hit higher than .240 with a .588 OPS in the Minor Leagues before he hit a combined .278 with a .716 OPS with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season.
“It’s disappointing,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said in the Phillies dugout before tonight’s series opener against the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. “We fully support the program and the decision. At the same time we support the player. We just want him to get healthy and get back onto the field for us. … We believe in the kid. I believe in him. I think he’s still got a great future for us moving forward.”
Asked if he believed Galvis’ claim of innocence by mentioning only 80 parts of the banned substance in a trillion were found in his system, Amaro said, “I don’t know anything about those numbers. It’s kind of foreign to me. As I said, I support the player. I can’t really comment on it because I don’t know much about it.”
Galvis was not available to reporters, but Amaro had. He said Galvis was “disappointed.”
Galvis also added in his statement, “I’d like to apologize to my all my fans, especially here in Philadelphia and back home in Venezuela, to my teammates and to the Phillies organization. I am looking forward to putting this behind me, rehabilitating my back and returning to the Phillies as soon as possible to try to help them win another World Series.”
He will be in a brace for the next three weeks.
“Then we’re going to reexamine him and see where we’re at,” Phillies head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan said before tonight’s game against the Twins at Target Field. “Based on his symptoms and that kind of stuff, we might be able to begin some stuff with him exericise-wise, but we really won’t know a lot more until we get to that time period. The biggest thing right now is just trying to get him comfortable, make him feel better and try to get this thing to heal.”
Sheridan said it is too early to say how much time Galvis will miss, but it should be a significant period of time.
“It’s hard to just go, oh, the season is over,” Sheridan said. “I think a lot just depends on how he responds after the first three weeks.”
Galvis, whose L45 vertebrae is fractured, has had some back issues in the past, most recently in Winter Ball. But he just recently developed the full fracture.
“It’s not an uncommon injury in baseball,” Sheridan said. “You want to treat it appropriately. If you let these go they can progress into other problems.”
Asked if this could bother Galvis in the future, Sheridan said, “I don’t think so. I think it probably changes the way he approaches things going forward.”