CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Phillies held their first full-squad workout Monday morning at the Carpenter Complex, and it was also the first time since 2009 that they opened a spring training without Freddy Galvis, the slick-fielding shortstop who was a clubhouse leader and finalist for a Gold Glove last season.
Galvis, 28, was traded to San Diego in December to make room at shortstop for top-tier prospect J.P. Crawford, who projects as a better hitter without surrendering too much in the defensive department. While Galvis was far from a superstar, he was good enough that general manager Matt Klentak should have received a solid prospect in return.
Time will tell if 6-foot-3 righthander Enyel De Los Santos fits that description, but his work in the second half of last season with San Diego's double-A San Antonio affiliate was certainly encouraging. After going 2-3 with a 5.26 ERA in his first 12 starts, De Los Santos, 22, bounced back to go 8-3 with a 2.70 ERA in his final 14 starts, which should be enough to earn him a spot with the Phillies' triple-A Lehigh Valley team out of spring training.
"I realized that I was doing some things incorrectly," De Los Santos said through team interpreter Diego Ettedgui. "The coaches pointed it out to me, but even before then I knew I was doing some things wrong and I knew I needed to make some adjustments, so I did. I think it was part of a learning process. I'm glad it worked out because in my mind, I made the adjustments and I got better."
He said his confidence was also boosted by the Phillies' trade for him. It was the second time in his young career that he was traded for an established major-leaguer. The Seattle Mariners initially signed the Dominican Republic native for $15,000 but traded him to the Padres for veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit in November 2015.
"It made me feel special … to be traded for guys like that – established guys – it means a lot to me," De Los Santos said.
According to scouting reports, De Los Santos features a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, but he said the pitch that made the difference for him last season was a slider.
"Definitely my fastball is my best pitch, but I'm confident in my other pitches, too, especially my slider," he said. "My slider helped me a lot last year, and that's something that I didn't throw before. I'm working on it a lot in this spring training."
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler mentioned more than once during the first week of spring training that he wanted his players to "be bold," and that message was driven home Monday morning by a T-shirt.