Phillies

With J.P. Crawford ready, Freddy Galvis' Phillies tenure appears to be over

With J.P. Crawford ready, Freddy Galvis' Phillies tenure appears to be over

It felt like the end for Freddy Galvis on Sunday.
 
Not the end of his career.
 
No. Not at all. This guy has many good years left in the game.
 
But it felt like the end of Galvis' time with the Phillies and that deserves some reflection.

He signed with the club back in 2006, when he was just 16. How long ago was that? Well, the Phillies have spanned three different eras since then. They were in the throes of a 13-season playoff drought when Galvis signed. That was followed by a five-year run in which they were among the best teams in baseball. On Sunday, they completed their sixth straight non-winning season.
 
The Phillies did manage to end the season on a high note — with an 11-0 win over the New York Mets on Pete Mackanin's last day as manager (see story).
 
Galvis, a play-making fixture at shortstop for three seasons and the team's longest-tenured player, did not start the ballgame.
 
Given the leadership he provided to the team — remember how he showed up for work and smacked a home run just hours after the birth of his second daughter in July? — and Gold Glove-caliber defense he played the last couple of seasons, Galvis probably deserved to start the season finale. But the team was committed to getting top prospect J.P. Crawford a half-dozen starts at shortstop so he got the call Sunday. There's little room for sentimentality when you're building a team and the shortstop of the future needs reps.
 
Galvis, 27 and smart, understands what's going on.
 
"It was no big deal," he said. "It's something we had talked about."
 
Galvis had hoped to start all 162 games this season and was on pace to do so until Crawford came up in early September. The team spread Crawford around the infield but wanted to get him six starts at shortstop. So Galvis finished five starts shy of 162 (he made one start in center field) but did play in all 162 games, the first Phillie to do so since Ryan Howard in 2008. 

Mackanin managed to get Galvis into the five games he did not start. He had a pinch-hit double in the sixth inning Sunday and received a nice ovation from the crowd, which seemed to know it might have just witnessed his last at-bat with the club.
 
"He's due all the respect he gets," Mackanin said.
 
Galvis was pleased that he could get in all 162 games.
 
"I think it’s pretty cool," he said. "I think just to be able to play 162 games and try to help the team is awesome. I feel proud for myself."
 
The Phillies have major-league ready middle infield depth in Crawford, 22, and Scott Kingery, 23. That is likely to result in general manager Matt Klentak's shopping Galvis and second baseman Cesar Hernandez for pitching this winter. Crawford could be the opening day shortstop. The Phillies could delay Kingery's arrival for a few weeks as they look to buy an extra year of control on him before free agency.

His time as manager up, Mackanin now becomes a front-office adviser. Any insights as to what might happen, Pete?

"It's a tough decision," Mackanin said. "But I know for a fact that the people upstairs, Matt and Andy (MacPhail, the club president), all of them, they really love Freddy. They realize what a good player he is, and they also acknowledge the fact that J.P. Crawford — this guy can play, so it's a tough decision. It will be up to them. Whatever they decide is fine with me."
 
Deep down inside, Galvis can't be happy about being pushed to the side. But he's been a pro about it.
 
"It's kind of weird," he said. "But I just have to be ready for whatever happens. I'm still a Phillie right now."
 
Galvis was a magician with the glove as a teenager and throughout his time in the minors. He raised his game the last couple of seasons in the majors. He led NL shortstops this season in fielding percentage (.989) and total chances (637).
 
Galvis credits Larry Bowa, a Gold Glove shortstop in his playing days, for fine-tuning his defense the last few years.
 
Like Galvis, Bowa might have spent his final day in a Phillies uniform Sunday. Bowa finished his fourth season as the team's bench coach. He and the rest of the coaching staff are now free agents.
 
After Sunday's game, Galvis and Bowa posed for a picture on the field.
 
It was a poignant moment, one that spoke volumes as the two men head off to an offseason of uncertainty.
 
"He elevated my defensive game to different places," Galvis said. "I always knew I could pick the ball and I can make some outs, but working with Bo, he elevated my game to a different level."

Morphine found in Roy Halladay's system before fatal plane crash

Morphine found in Roy Halladay's system before fatal plane crash

Roy Halladay had morphine in his system when the plane he was piloting crashed and he tragically died in November, according to Halladay's autopsy report, released Friday.

Zolpidem, the generic name for Ambien, and amphetamines were also found in Halladay's system.

As TMZ points out via the Food and Drug Administration, the amount of Zolpidem found in Halladay's system (72 ng/ml) is more than enough to impair a driver and increase the risk of an accident.

Halladay had a blood alcohol content of 0.01, according to the autopsy report. 

The official cause of Halladay's death was blunt force trauma, with drowning a contributing factor.

The crash took place on Nov. 7 in the Gulf of Mexico, with more details emerging in a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board two weeks later.

Nick Williams talks up Phillies to a free-agent Cy Young winner

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AP Images/USA Today Images

Nick Williams talks up Phillies to a free-agent Cy Young winner

It's not clear whether the Phillies will add a starting pitcher before opening day, but surely they would like to.

General manager Matt Klentak “is busting his ass every single day looking for every possible opportunity to upgrade our team from every perspective,” manager Gabe Kapler said on Tuesday. “That includes looking at every option possible for the rotation.”

Klentak has kept a close eye on the trade market, but has found the prices (i.e., the young talent that must be surrendered) for top, controllable starters to be prohibitive.

He has kept a close eye on the free-agent market, but the length of contracts that top pitchers are looking for has given him pause.

For months, the Phillies have distanced themselves from speculation that has connected them to elite level free-agent pitchers Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta.

But with spring training less than a month away and both pitchers still unsigned, the Phillies would at least have to consider both pitchers if their asking prices experience a January thaw.

Six or seven years? No way.

Three years? Hmmm. Let's talk.

The Phillies are hosting a number of their young players this week. Rhys Hoskins, Jerad Eickhoff, Mark Leiter and Nick Williams were all in town on Tuesday.

Williams has set his sights on making the National League All-Star team in 2018.

“That's what I'm shooting for,” he said at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday. “I think I had a pretty good year last year. I'm shooting for more now. I don't think being an All-Star is shooting too high.”

Williams, 24, hit .288 with 12 homers, 55 RBIs and an .811 OPS in 83 games, mostly in right field, with the big club as a rookie last season.

To give himself the best chance of surpassing those numbers — and achieving his goal of making the All-Star team — Williams has spent the offseason in Austin, Texas, working with personal trainer Jeremy Hills, a former University of Texas football player.

Williams is working hard on agility, which will help him in the outfield and on the base paths.

And guess who one of his daily workout partners is?

Free-agent pitcher Jake Arrieta.

Back in Austin, between reps and protein shakes, Williams has occasionally talked up Philadelphia as a potential landing spot to Arrieta, the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner who will turn 32 in March.

“He loves it here,” Williams said of Arrieta, who, as a free agent and a Scott Boras client, is astute enough not to rule out any team, particularly one as deep-pocketed as the Phillies. “He has told me he likes working with young guys. I'm like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I'm not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I'm not really in his position.”

Williams smiled.

“I hope to be one day,” he said.

Williams marveled at Arrieta's work ethic in the gym.

And he expressed gratitude for the kindness and generosity Arrieta has showed him.

“He's bought a lot of my protein shakes,” Williams said.

Time will tell if the Phillies add a starting pitcher to the group that already consists of Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and other youngsters. The hunch is they will, though it's unclear what the magnitude of that talent will be. Klentak's search for an arm likely won't stop with the addition of one pitcher and it will likely continue through July. And beyond. The quest to build a championship-caliber staff never stops.

“The pursuit is very real,” Kapler said of Klentak's search for pitching. “I have a lot of trust that we'll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we're better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”