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Orioles fill shortstop void, sign infielder Freddy Galvis to one-year deal

With spring training weeks just weeks away and a hole atop their shortstop depth chart, the Orioles signed veteran infielder Freddy Galvis to a one-year contract, the team announced Tuesday.

According to a source with direct knowledge of the agreement, Galvis’ deal is worth $1.5 million and does not have an option for 2022, though there is a $250,000 trade bonus should the Orioles deal him during the season.

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Galvis, 31, started 31 games at shortstop and 11 more at second base for the Cincinnati Reds last season, batting .220 with seven home runs, 16 RBIs and a .712 OPS. Most of Galvis’ career was spent with the Philadelphia Phillies, but his best came in 2019, when he hit .260 with 23 home runs, 70 RBIs and a .763 OPS between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Reds.

Galvis also has experience at second base and third base, though shortstop is his primary position. He rates as a slightly above-average fielder according to some public measurements, and had a 2.6 UZR/150 in the shortened 2020 season, according to FanGraphs. He has been a Gold Glove Award finalist at shortstop three times in his career (2016 to 2018), and his .984 fielding percentage as a shortstop since his debut in 2012 ranks second among active players.

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The veteran infielder will likely replace José Iglesias, who was also signed last January from the Cincinnati Reds, as the primary shortstop. Iglesias proved quite a smart piece of business for the Orioles, who paid him $3 million and got career-best offensive production. Iglesias had a 2021 option, which the Orioles picked up, but in December traded him to the Los Angeles Angels for a pair of pitching prospects.

As a result, there was a hole at that pivotal position, one the Orioles waited to fill. After DJ LeMahieu re-signed with the New York Yankees earlier this month, the infield market started to move a bit. One of the biggest pieces, Marcus Semien, reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays worth $18 million Tuesday. Others on the market include Andrelton Simmons and Didi Gregorius, though they will likely be on the higher end of the market.

By the time the 2021 season starts, the Orioles’ infield could have a substantially different look than it did last Opening Day. That day in Boston, Chris Davis was at first base, Hanser Alberto played second base, and Iglesias was at shortstop. Davis is ticketed for a bench role with Trey Mancini back in the mix as the team’s primary first baseman entering spring training, while Alberto was released at the beginning of December. Yolmer Sánchez, a waiver claim with a Gold Glove Award on his resume, is his likely replacement at second base.

The veteran infielder presumably jumps to the front of the line when it comes to the Orioles’ shortstop considerations, with Richie Martin and Pat Valaika also on the 40-man roster as depth options.

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To clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Galvis, the Orioles designated corner infielder Chris Shaw for assignment. Shaw was claimed in the fall from the San Francisco Giants.

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