The Baltimore Orioles are in negotiations to sign pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
In the past few days, the Baltimore Orioles have been expressing more and more interest in free agent pitcher Yovani Gallardo. Over nine seasons (eight in Milwaukee and one with Texas), Gallardo’s accumulated a 5.76 winning percentage, and a 3.66 ERA. Last year in Texas the right hander was 13-11 with an ERA of 3.42 – which is fairly impressive given the dimensions of that ballpark.
The catch is that the Orioles would have to give Texas their first round pick in the draft (14th pick) as compensation for Gallardo, however that’s something that they’re increasingly non-hesitant to do. It’s a surprise to most folks in the industry that Gallardo is still on the board. However with pitchers and catchers reporting next week, guys are more likely to lower their contract expectations.
One thing that I heard last night was that the O’s were supposedly willing to offer an opt-out clause to Gallardo, which is something they’ve always been hesitant to do. And with good reason in my view, as my opinion on opt-outs is well known. It’s unfair to the organization to basically give someone a manner by which they can backtrack on a deal. However the Orioles appear to be the frontrunners on Gallardo, and it’s unclear if that’s something that will be a part of the eventual contract.
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After a down 2014, Gallardo bounced back last year in Texas and had a decent season. I think he would slide in nicely to the Orioles’ rotation, although this would make the entire rotation right-handed starters. However the Birds seem resigned to that as they enter spring training. Given that teams will presumably stack their lineups with lefties, that makes the spot of left-handed specialist out in the bullpen all the more important.
According to ESPN, the Orioles’ offer to Gallardo is in the neighborhood of three years and between $40-$45 million. On that note, the O’s are also reportedly interested in outfielder Dexter Fowler, who’s price also appears to be coming down. Fowler played for the Chicago Cubs last year, and is a career .267 hitter. A centerfielder by nature, he would most probably be relegated to right field.
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This move would require the O’s to surrender the 29th pick in the draft, and not everyone in the organization wants to do that with their top two picks. If I had to choose between the two, I’d take Gallardo – but that’s just me. I think that the need for another starter is much more than another outfielder.
However it’s also worth noting that the depth in the outfield might give the Orioles some trade possibilities during spring training or at the deadline. In effect if they make a trade involving an outfielder – such as a Reimold for instance – they could get low level prospect in return that would in theory take the place of a dratee this coming June. So there are all kinds of possibilities out there.
My personal opinion is that we’ll see Gallardo signing in short order. I say that as just a hunch. As for Fowler, time will tell. But we’re getting to crunch time in terms of things starting to percolate as we move towards the season.