Baltimore Orioles: Gallardo Rumors Just a Smoke Screen?
By C.R. Defuoco
The Baltimore Orioles still haven’t inked Gallardo, which begs the question; Who was the rumor really supposed to excite?
It’s been nearly a week now since it was announced the Baltimore Orioles were close to a 3-yr deal with FA Jovani Gallardo and still nothing has been finalized. In my opinion the Orioles are better off without Gallardo and better off looking into other options. The longer the waiting period lasts the more I sense Baltimore may be sharing the same sentiment.
The other day Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reported that the Orioles are interested in Matt Kemp and have already shown interest in James Shields and Andrew Cashner. I would enjoy seeing either of those two pitching options but it would appear there’s not enough depth in the Orioles farm system to make a competitive deal and we’re not the only organization interested in Kemp as there have been plenty of rumors regarding the Oakland Athletics.
During the Winter Meetings, Baltimore began their talks with San Diego but nothing came from it. From what I gather, they never completely ended their communication with the Padres organization. I know the Padres would be excited about Kevin Gausman or Jonathan Schoop but Baltimore has made it a point they aren’t willing to deal either player and thankfully so.
Matt Kemp is still owed $87 million over the next four years and San Diego is willing to eat some of that cash if the deal is right. Two-time Gold Glove winner, Kemp is a career .289 hitter who averages 26 HR a season. As a top run producer his power would fit perfect in Baltimore’s hitter friendly ballpark and fit soundly in RF while maintaining Bucks standard for defensive ability.
So if this is the direction that Baltimore would actually like to go in and are ready to make one last big expenditure now, could it be that the Gallardo rumor is just a smoke screen to speed up the Padres decision making process? If that’s the case, it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen this tactic used. Earlier in the year the announcement of the Orioles making a deal with OF Yoenis Cespedes quickly resulted in the signing of Chris Davis and I don’t believe in coincidences.
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Baltimore wouldn’t still be in conversations with San Diego if there wasn’t some serious interest on both sides, regardless of what’s been publicized. The Padres are in rebuilding mode and seem to be open to pretty much anything if it strengthens their team and keep them from another 74 win season. Most of their salary is eaten up by Matt Kemp who didn’t appear to quite fit in the organization as he did in Los Angeles, a place where Dexter Fowler could easily fit into at a much lower cost.
Curiously, if this transaction did take place, who would the Padres want in return? There has been a lot of interest in SP’s Chris Lee and Mike Wright, both could make fair trading chips based on their upsides. In addition, the Padres could use some help at second base, so maybe Ryan Falherty would be taken under consideration, especially being a solid utility guy. I think a trade of Wright, Lee, and Flaherty for Matt Kemp and let’s say Colin Rea, who’s ready for his first full season as a SP, would make for a fair transaction. Considering the financial relief for San Diego, I could see this being a lucrative move for them, maybe we could even throw in Jimmy Paredes for good measure.
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Gallardo could simply be Baltimore’s last option in the event they can’t find their ideal situation and maybe that explains the delay. Either way, I’m curious where the Orioles are actually at in their hunt for these last couple pieces to complete the team. With Pitchers and Catchers showing up to Sarasota on Saturday, I’m sure we’ll be hearing something sooner rather than later.