Showing posts with label Yovani Gallardo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yovani Gallardo. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Orioles put Gallardo deal on hold, agree on terms with Dexter Fowler

Dexter Fowler
Remember what we said about the Baltimore Orioles signing pitcher Yovani Gallardo? Never mind, at least for now. That deal is on hold after questions about the veteran right-hander's health emerged during a team physical.

This isn't the first time Baltimore has uncovered issues with a free-agent pitcher during a medical examination. Remember Grant Balfour? The Orioles spiked a deal they had with him in 2013 over a problem they found during a physical. Balfour ended up signing with Tampa Bay, and never pitched well during his time with the Rays. He ended up being released before the completion of his two-year contract.

With the Gallardo deal possibly unraveling, the Orioles added to their offense on Tuesday, agreeing to terms on a three-year, $33 million contract with outfielder Dexter Fowler.

Fowler, 29, hit .250/.346/.411 with 17 home runs and 46 RBIs in 156 games with the Cubs last year. He figures to bat leadoff for Orioles, as he did in Chicago, but with Adam Jones anchoring center field in Baltimore, Fowler is destined for a move to a corner outfield spot.

Fowler's free agency didn't seem to generate a lot of interest because of a qualifying offer. The Cubs offered him the one-year, $15.8 million deal, which Fowler declined. As a result, the Orioles now owe the Cubs a draft pick.

Orioles surrender draft pick, sign Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
One significant signing from the weekend I neglected to mention: The Baltimore Orioles signed pitcher Yovani Gallardo to a three-year deal worth a reported $35 million.

Gallardo rejected a qualifying offer from his previous club -- the Texas Rangers -- so that means the Orioles had to surrender a draft pick to sign him.

No doubt, that's why Gallardo stayed on the market for this long. Despite a rising WHIP and a declining strikeout rate, Gallardo has made 30 or more starts for seven consecutive seasons. There's value in that. He won 13 games and posted a 3.42 ERA for the Rangers in 2015.

There's no question Baltimore needed to address its starting rotation, which finished next-to-last in ERA and third-to-last in innings pitched last season. The Orioles had one of the weakest starting staffs in the American League by any measure, and then they lost Wei-Yin Chen to the Miami Marlins in free agency.

The Orioles now add Gallardo to a projected rotation that includes Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Miguel Gonzalez and Kevin Gausman.

Is it enough? I say no, because Gallardo represents more of the same. He's a middle-of-the-rotation guy on a staff that's already fill of middle-of-the-rotation guys. Who can the Orioles trust to be the ace? They simply don't have one.

Baltimore has a good offense, and I'm sure that would be the reason for optimism for them and their fans. Problem is, they play in a division that is full of good offenses. The Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox are certainly going to score a lot of runs. The New York Yankees are likely going to score a lot of runs. Only the Tampa Bay Rays figure to struggle offensively among AL East teams.

The Orioles are going to have to score a lot to overcome their pitching issues, and it's going to be a tall order to outslug lineups such as those in Toronto and Boston.

As for impact on the White Sox, the Orioles surrendering their pick moves the South Siders up from No. 28 to No. 27 in the draft order, so there's that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Four notable free agents remain on the market

Ian Desmond
This offseason, there were 16 players who received qualifying offers from their teams and declined them, opting instead to become free agents. Twelve of them have signed; four remain on the market as of Tuesday afternoon:

1. Dexter Fowler, outfielder: Fowler is coming off a decent season with the Cubs, where he posted a .250/.346/.411 slash with 17 home runs and 20 stolen bases. His on-base percentage was actually down a little bit last year from his career norm of .363, but he's always been a guy who gets on base at a decent clip at the top of a lineup. However, he is horribly miscast as a center fielder -- he's posted a negative defensive WAR in each of the past five seasons. And he lacks the arm strength to play right field. Those defensive warts are likely why he's still on the market, with teams reluctant to surrender a draft pick to sign him.

2. Ian Desmond, shortstop: Desmond picked a bad time to have a horrible year in 2015, .233/.290/.384 with 19 home runs, 62 RBIs and 27 errors. All those figures are worse than his career norms, and despite a weak crop of free-agent shortstops, nobody has been willing to meet his asking price -- especially with the draft pick compensation attached. Desmond, 30, may have to change positions to convince a team to take a chance on him at this point.

3. Howie Kendrick, second base: It's a little bit surprising this guy is still available, especially with second basemen who can hit being hard to come by. Again, the draft pick thing is a major hindrance, but GMs should know what they are getting in Kendrick. His batting average has been between .285 and .297 in each of the past five years. His on-base percentage has been between .325 and .347 in each of the past five years. Not much variance. Kendrick is 32, so he's not going to command a four or five-year contract, but you would think he would be a nice option for a team looking for a second baseman on a two- or three-year deal. This is a consistent player.

4. Yovani Gallardo, pitcher: Gallardo's days of being a top-of-the-rotation pitcher with the Milwaukee Brewers are past, but give him credit for surviving despite a noticeable decline in his stuff. He can't overpower anybody anymore, yet he still managed to go 13-11 with a 3.42 ERA in 33 starts with the Texas Rangers last year -- his first season in the American League. There are a lot of career NLers who have had a much more difficult adjustment to the AL than that. That said, Gallardo's strikeout rate has fallen from 25.9 percent to 15.3 percent. Even though Gallardo will only be 30 on Opening Day, he's got nearly 1,500 big-league innings on his arm, and that seems to be taking a toll.

Other notable players still available:

David Freese, third baseman
Doug Fister, pitcher
Justin Morneau, first baseman
Tyler Clippard, relief pitcher
Tim Lincecum, pitcher
Austin Jackson, outfielder
Steve Pearce, outfielder
Mat Latos, pitcher
Juan Uribe, infielder
Pedro Alvarez, first baseman