The Phillies have received offers for both of their starting middle infielders, Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez. What happens if both get traded?
According to different insiders, the Phillies have received trade offers for both Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis, their starting middle infielders in 2017. Both are expendable with arguably better prospects (J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery) coming up at their respective positions in the near future.
Speculation for quite some time now predicted that at least one of Galvis or Crawford would be traded this offseason. There was expected to be at least some interest in both players. Perhaps there is enough interest in both that general manager Matt Klentak would be able to trade both. In that case, what will the team do if they trade both Hernandez and Galvis?
The most obvious effect of doing this would mean losing the offensive production of Hernandez and the defensive capabilities of Galvis. Hernandez has been among the best leadoff hitters in baseball since becoming the starting second baseman, which is what makes him such an attractive piece. Philadelphia would have to find someone to fill that leadoff spot.
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Meanwhile, Galvis’s defense has lead to his nomination for a Gold Glove each of the last two seasons. Crawford is a strong defender in his own right, but it isn’t quite the same as Galvis’s.
Trading Galvis would certainly free up the starting position for Crawford, who might still get that job even if Galvis isn’t traded.
However, there isn’t a clear major-league ready successor for Hernandez.
Kingery is the next one up on the organizational depth chart, but will he be ready to make the jump to the majors after 63 games in Triple-A? Kingery could very well fill that production gap in the leadoff spot, but he might struggle when he first reaches the majors.
Kingery still won’t need to be added to the 40-man roster until after the season ends. If he does the start the year on the major-league roster, Kingery would likely qualify for Super Two status and start the arbitration clock. This is something the front office has shown they would like to avoid with players like Maikel Franco, Aaron Nola, and Crawford.
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If the front office determines they want to give Kingery more time in Triple-A yet still trade both Hernandez and Galvis, they would be left in an odd position. They could call on Jesmuel Valentin to fill the gap, but he has about the same amount of Triple-A experience as Kingery with far less offensive success. Perhaps Engelb Vielma, who the club claimed off waivers from the Giants, could fill the position, but he doesn’t have major-league experience.
This could force the team to turn to free agency to sign a stopgap like Cliff Pennington or Ryan Flaherty.
It could also be the opportune time to bring in Chase Utley, but they might want more offensive production than he could give.
If Philadelphia does trade both Galvis and Hernandez, they would be showing major confidence in Crawford and Kingery as they are the best two internal options the team has. Otherwise they would be forced to sign someone for essentially half a season until Kingery is ready, which isn’t the ideal way to be spending money.
Realistically, only one of Galvis or Hernandez is getting traded. On the other hand, if they both do, we will get to see the young players from the start of the season.