In 2015, the Arizona Diamondbacks finished the season in the bottom ten in starting pitching ERA, 23rd to be exact. They also finished in the bottom ten in starting pitching FIP, in 25th place. In 2015, the D’backs pitching staff just was not good. While the offense hit new heights, led by Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock, the pitching staff struggled to keep up. After a surprising third place finish in 2015, the D’backs now have playoff aspirations for 2016. Getting to the playoffs for the D’backs is all contingent on improving their poor pitching staff. Yovani Gallardo is just the player the Diamondbacks need.
In his first, and looks like only, year with the Rangers, after being traded to Texas in January last offseason, Gallardo had a resurgent season. After an unexpected early season injury to Rangers ace Yu Darvish, Gallardo was thrust into the role of the ace of the staff. Gallardo took on that role and capitalized on the opportunity.
In 33 starts last year, Gallardo pitched 184.1 innings and finished the season with a 3.42 ERA, a FIP of 4.00 and was worth 2.5 WAR. Clearly these aren’t eye-popping numbers by themselves, but Gallardo did a more than respectable job filling in as the ace of the Rangers staff after the injury to Darvish. Gallardo struggled a bit in the second half of the season after the acquisition of Cole Hamels, but he was able to settle in as the number two starter for the Rangers playoff push.
Given the Diamondbacks financial history as a small market club, it appears unlikely that they would be able to get a true ace such as David Price, Zack Greinke or even a strong two starter like Jordan Zimmermann. With that being said, Gallardo represents the type of pitcher the D’backs would be looking for — a guy who is a veteran presence on a team with lots of young pitching talent. Gallardo would not have to be the ace on the Diamondbacks and could settle into a supplementary role.
With Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray, Chase Anderson, Rubby De La Rosa and Archie Bradley likely all vying for rotation spots, Gallardo would provide the experience that the whole D’backs team, and more specifically, the pitching staff, needs. The Diamondbacks are a serious contender for 2016, and if they play their cards right this offseason, they may just be able to make their return to the playoffs next season. Yovani Gallardo may be the most cost effective option to get them there.