The Orioles’ talks with the representative for free agent pitcher Yovani Gallardo have progressed to the point where they appear to be the favorites to sign him, according to an industry source.
FOXSports.com reported today that the sides were “making progress,” and multiple reports have the Orioles offering three years.
The Orioles weren’t comfortable going four years for Gallardo and five were never a consideration. However, his price has dropped as spring training approaches, along with the list of suitors.
The rotation still has an opening after Wei-Yin Chen signed a five-year deal with the Marlins. The Orioles were reluctant to part with their first-round draft pick, the 14th overall, but their stance changed again within the past few weeks.
As I wrote a few days ago, the Orioles began reviewing Gallardo’s medicals again while renewing their interest in him. They traded for Padres right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne last week, but he has three minor league options and is viewed more as a depth move.
Gallardo turns 30 later this month and brings some concerns about his drop in velocity and strikeouts per nine innings. His WHIP rose from 1.295 in 2014 to 1.416 in 2015. However, he’s made at least 30 starts in seven consecutive years and owns a 3.66 ERA over nine seasons. He’d slot in the top portion of a rotation that holds most of the responsibility for the team’s failure to make the playoffs.
The Orioles’ highest remaining pick would be the 28th overall if they sign Gallardo.
Though Gallardo has his detractors, the Orioles’ offseason grade would figure to improve after retaining catcher Matt Wieters, reliever Darren O’Day and first baseman Chris Davis, trading for Mark Trumbo and signing Korean outfielder Hyun Soo Kim. They also claimed Worley off waivers.