Report: Orioles Reach Agreement with Right-Hander Yovani Gallardo

Free-agent right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo has agreed to a three-year, $35 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The Orioles will forfeit the 14th overall pick in the 2016 draft to sign the soon to be 30-year-old right-hander, giving the Texas Rangers an extra pick following the first round.

The deal also includes an option for a fourth year, as well as some deferred money. Heyman has not reported the value of the option year. The Orioles had been rumored to be close to signing Gallardo for close to two weeks. Baseball Essential’s Josh Sadlock had speculated that an option for a fourth year could make sense for both sides.

The signing of Gallardo will fill the void left by southpaw Wei-Yin Chen when he signed with the Miami Marlins earlier this offseason, and eliminate the thought of Vance Worley, Odrisamer Despaigne, Mike Wright, and Tyler Wilson competing for the fifth spot in Baltimore’s rotation.

Gallardo has been a consistent pitcher throughout his career, posting a 3.66 ERA (3.75 FIP) over 247 games (244 starts) in the past nine seasons. However, the decline in his strikeout-to-walk rate over the last four seasons should worry fans in Baltimore a little bit:

  • 2012: 9.00 K/9; 14.3 K-BB%
  • 2013: 7.17 K/9; 10.1 K-BB%
  • 2014: 6.83 K/9; 11.3 K-BB%
  • 2015: 5.91 K/9; 6.7 K-BB%

Also, Gallardo’s fastball velocity has taken a hit, according to PITCHf/x, dropping from an average 92.6 mph in 2011 to 90.5 mph in 2015.

Gallardo’s been a solid mid-to-back of the rotation starter throughout his career, but there are reasons for the Orioles and their fans to be concerned with this deal. Hopefully the decline in velocity and strikeout-to-walk rate doesn’t hold him back from pitching to an ERA under four — which he has done in every season of his career except 2013 — and throwing 180+ innings per year — which he has done in each of the past seven seasons.

After signing Gallardo, the Orioles may now direct their focus toward signing one of Dexter Fowler or Pedro Alvarez, or trading for Cincinnati Reds’ outfielder Jay Bruce. The Orioles have had the most spend-thrift offseason in team history, but still had areas of need to fill as spring training opened. Gallardo fills the need for a dependable arm. Landing an outfielder should be next on the Orioles’ checklist before Opening Day.

One Response

  1. bill jaffe

    he helps the O’s since none of their pitching prospects can either stay healthy or develop.


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