Baltimore Orioles: Yovani Gallardo Just what was Needed
The Baltimore Orioles added a much need starting pitcher for their rotation with the new addition of Yovani Gallardo.
With Spring Training starting a couple of days ago, the Orioles biggest question mark remaining has. The last spot in the rotation will be filled by former Brewers and Rangers starter, 29-year-old Yovani Gallardo. The Orioles seemed hesitant to give up their first round pick, 14th overall, to sign a free agent tied to draft compensation but the need for a quality starter was too great. Gallardo is a very reliable starter something the Orioles have been lacking within their rotation. In the last 7 seasons, Gallardo has made at least 31 starts and pitched over 180 innings in everyone. Much needed consistency.
Gallardo will be joining Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jiminez, Kevin Gausman, and Miguel Gonzalez in the Orioles’s rotation. Before locking up the former Ranger, the fifth spot looked up for grabs. The spot would have been occupied by one of or a mix of Mike Wright, Vance Worley, Tyler Wilson or the recently acquired Odrisamer Despaigne. Of the four, only Worley is out of minor league options. He could still end up in the Orioles bullpen. The other three are most likely ticketed for the rotation down at Norfolk. Gallardo should be an improvement over that bunch.
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The agreed contract is still pending a physical. Gallardo should be at camp some time today to take it. Terms of the contract are a 3 year deal with an option for 4th year. Guaranteed money is a total of 35 million. Payouts consist of 9 million in year 1, 11 million in year 2, and 13 million in year 3. If the 4th year option is not exercised a 2 million dollar buy out, while the 4th year is worth 13 million. The contract value seems very reasonable for a former all-star pitcher, especially compared to the contracts handed out to other starting pitchers this off-season. If you look at someone like Jeff Samardzija who signed a 5 year 90 million contract earlier in the off-season, Gallardo’s contract could be a steal. Samardzija is the older of the two got two more guaranteed years and almost tripled the amount of money. This is all while leading the league in home runs(29) and earned runs(118). The market for Gallardo’s services seemed slowed by the tie to draft pick compensation.
Making the transition to the American League for the first time last year, Gallardo went 13-11 with a 3.42 ERA for the Texas Rangers. He previously spent his whole career in the National League as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. Although pitching in a hitter’s ball park, Gallardo surrendered only 15 home runs and kept the ball down, inducing ground balls at a 49.3% clip. With the way the Oriole’s defense swallows up grounders in the infield that rate could be a huge plus. He also made a start in the postseason against the Toronto Blue Jays. For his career Gallardo has 5 postseason starts. It’s not the most experience ever but still an added benefit that the bright lights of the playoffs shouldn’t affect him. Make no mistake about it, this signing means the Oriole’s goals are playoffs and more.
Yovani Gallardo doesn’t come without his warts though. For the Orioles there is the loss of the already mentioned 14th overall pick. Gallardo set a career high with a 1.42 whip and career lows with a 5.9 strike outs per 9 innings. The strikeouts have been trending down for the last 4 years and without facing the pitcher in the American League those numbers were expected.
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Gallardo is heading to more of contact pitcher instead of a power pitcher as his career continues. Instead of missing bats there is more pitching to contact. He showed last year he can still offer good results even in the American League. The Orioles desperately needed another arm in their rotation. The three-year contract shouldn’t hinder them budget-wise as signing some of the other big name free agent pitchers.
If the option year is declined, Gallardo will only be 32 when the contract is up. At worst he will be 33. Pitchers can still be effective at that age. Though all pitchers don’t age the same, the chances of Gallardo breaking down completely at even age 33 is far less likely than locking up some other options until 36, 37. The things Gallardo does well is keep the ball down and doesn’t give up the long ball. That should play very well with the Oriole’s defense backing him. Manny Machado might be the best defensive third baseman in the league. J.J. Hardy has won multiple gold gloves at shortstop. The right side has very good defenders in Jonathan Schoop and Chris Davis. All Gallardo needs to do is let his team make plays behind him.
Next: Baltimore Orioles sign Yovani Gallardo
At the end of the day people will both like the Yovani signing and others will hate it. I am on the pro side. The Orioles are trying to win as they have for mostly the last 4 years under Buck Showalter. There goals aren’t to have best rated prospects and farm system. And that one day could come back to bite them but now the focus is the major league club. They are trying to put the best product out on the field. I do know this at the moment that product is a lot better with Yovani Gallardo penciled in the rotation over the other options.