It sounds like Peter Angelos has completely opened up the old checkbook this winter as it appears the Baltimore Orioles have inked starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo to a three-year deal worth $35 million. While the deal seems like a decent one, the O’s do give up their 14th overall pick in the 2016 draft which makes the deal seem slightly less than decent.
Gallardo is a quality pitcher but not exactly a true ace, which is something the O’s can use. Gallardo spent his 2015 in Texas with the Rangers where he went 13-11 with a 3.42 ERA, his lowest ERA in a full season since he came into the league in 2007. For his career, Gallardo has posted a record of 102-75 with a 3.66 ERA over 244 career starts.
One note that is a bit concerning for Gallardo would be his decreasing strikeout numbers. From 2009 to 2012 Gallardo punched out at least 200 batters a season. That number dropped drastically in 2013 when he struck out 144 batters in 180 2/3 innings and then he struck out 146 batters in 2014 in 192 1/3 innings. That number dropped yet again in 2015 when he struck out 121 batters in 184 1/3 innings. His K per 9 innings has dropped every year for the past four years, going from 9 K / 9 innings in 2012 to 5.9 K / 9 innings in 2015.
With the Orioles letting Wei-Yin Chen walk via free agency, Gallardo is essentially replacing Chen. Had the O’s kept Chen AND picked up Gallardo, then this signing would certainly help their rotation, however with this being a replacement, it really doesn’t improve anything especially when you consider Gallardo is a right-handed pitcher, meaning all of the Orioles starting pitchers are right-handed.
Chen received a five-year deal worth $80 million from the Miami Marlins and had the O’s resigned him, they would not have lost that 14th overall pick. While the move I feel is good, as the Orioles certainly can use help pitching, it only brings them back to where they were last year at best, which given their 81-81 record can use some help if they want to make the playoffs this year.
By Andy Mindzak