Just when it appeared that the Orioles had no interest in surrendering their first pick in the draft, they definitely are reconsidering as right-hander Yovani Gallardo remains on the free agent market.
The latest shift in thinking apparently has occurred within the past week. They’re checking medicals again and weighing the pros and cons. They haven’t walked away from Gallardo.
They just can’t seem to quit him.
The pros include the need to bring in an established starter for a rotation that hasn’t adequately replaced left-hander Wei-Yin Chen. Gallardo has made 30 or more starts in seven consecutive seasons and has gone 102-75 with a 3.66 ERA in nine years.
The cons include the loss of the pick, currently the 14th for a team desperate to stock its farm system with young arms, and Gallardo’s drop in velocity. Is there a health issue that could come back to bite the Orioles?
Gallardo’s ERA fell from 3.51 in 192 1/3 innings with the Brewers to 3.42 in 184 1/3 innings with the Rangers. However, his WHIP rose from 1.295 to 1.416 and his strikeouts per nine innings dropped to a career-low 5.9.
The Orioles weren’t giving Gallardo four or five years. Is his price plummeting to the point where Duquette no longer can resist? And have the Orioles become so desperate that the draft pick no longer is untouchable?
So many questions, and so many opinions on the value of Gallardo and the pick.
Plenty of folks in the industry say Gallardo isn’t worth the 14th selection. I’m sure Duquette has heard from the dissenters. But others believe the Orioles can’t compete without a rotation upgrade and preach the wisdom of choosing the proven commodity. I’m sure Duquette has heard from the supporters.
Gallardo, who turns 30 later this month, is probably a middle-of-the-rotation starter at best, but he moves up with the Orioles. It could be argued that he carries more value with them than other teams who still may be in the running.
No one asked for my opinion, but I’m certainly not married to the draft pick, especially with the Orioles holding six within the first 100.
In a perfect world, Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez have bounce back seasons, Kevin Gausman takes the next step, Ubaldo Jimenez puts together two solid halves, Dylan Bundy stays healthy and competes for a rotation spot in 2016, Hunter Harvey stays healthy and joins him, and the Orioles’ deep depth includes optionable pieces such as Odrisamer Despaigne, Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright and Chris Lee.
The current situation is imperfect, and the Orioles are being chosen to finish fourth or fifth based on their rotation. Gallardo may not end up in Baltimore, but he’s back in the discussion.
Carolina 36, Denver 17