General manager Mike Elias said he’s pleased with the signing of Freddy Galvis as the Orioles’ shortstop for 2021. The Orioles signed Galvis, a 31-year-old switch-hitter, on Tuesday for $1.5 million and a $250,000 bonus if he’s traded.
“Looking at our needs this year, especially in light of the moves at the beginning of the offseason, we targeted some veteran middle infield presences,” Elias said Wednesday in a video conference call.
“Freddy Galvis is an ideal solution for us to that end with what he brings to the table with his accomplishments … Signing Freddy brings us a very big step closer to the club that we want to see in Sarasota this spring.”
Elias said the Orioles were keeping tabs on Galvis as the free-agent market for shortstops evolved.
“He looked like a really good fit all along,” Elias said. “This was a rather plentiful, kind of saturated shortstop market … next year’s class, unless there are going to be more extensions, is going to be even more so.
“He was toward the top of the board, but as you saw, it took a while for the infield market to get moving. Our hope and expectation is that he’s a big contributor for us all year and, who knows, potentially beyond that.”
Elias thinks Galvis could thrive with the Orioles.
“We’ve got an attractive opportunity for a player like Freddy Galvis to come in, be a leader on the roster, you’re a starter. We’ve got a fun, competitive high-profile division to play in. We’ve got a fun park to hit in, especially for him, a guy with some left-handed pop.
“People want to come be the starting shortstop for the Orioles, and I think that played to our advantage. He was very interested in our job, and I know he took it over some opportunities.”
The Orioles signed José Iglesias last January to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with a $3.5 million option for 2021, which they exercised in early November before trading him to the Los Angeles Angels last month.
It’s possible the Orioles could be searching for a shortstop again in 2022.
“It looks like there are going to be a bunch of free agents,” Elias said. “We’ve got some interesting, young infielders advancing through the levels.”
Elias mentioned Gunnar Henderson, who was the Orioles’ second-round pick in 2019; Jordan Westburg, the 30th pick in 2020; and minor league infielders Rylan Bannon, who’s new to the 40-man roster; Cadyn Grenier; Mason McCoy; and Terrin Vavra.
“This is a position where you don’t want to take too many chances,” Elias said. “So, if we feel that if any of those players need more time or they’re not ready, we’ll be looking at a guy like Freddy or others as things play out.”
Martin breaks hand bone: Richie Martin, who was the Orioles’ Opening Day shortstop as a Rule 5 draft pick in 2019 but missed last season because of a broken right wrist, has suffered another hand injury.
Martin broke the left hamate bone, Elias said, and will require surgery. He expects Martin to return to spring training in early March.
“This is a much less serious injury,” Elias said. “It’s a pretty straightforward recovery.”
Elias said that the Orioles didn’t learn about Martin’s injury until Wednesday morning.
“Certainly, having signed Galvis now, I think we can breathe a little easier knowing that we’re not going to be able to see Richie for about five weeks. It shouldn’t impact his regular season, but he might have a little later start to spring training.”
Trade talk: There has been speculation that outfielder Anthony Santander or first baseman/outfielder Trey Mancini, who missed last season after colon cancer surgery, could be available in trades.
“I think everyone knows we’re listening right now,” Elias said. “We traded a number of veterans the last few years, dating back to 2018. We’re pretty transparent about what we’re doing.
“I think if you’re a buying team right now, that puts us towards the top of the list. We’ve got some talented players, many of whom have a lot of years of contractual control left, and it’s natural to get those phone calls, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to do anything.
“We always do our job in terms of fielding calls, working the market, finding out what’s going on out there, but I can’t say anything is likely.”