With Yovani Gallardo 100% not going back to the Texas Rangers, it seems he’s left with three options: Going to the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros or the Colorado Rockies.
Gallardo, according to his agent, is happy to be in business with any of the three teams. Yes, even the Rockies, and a stadium that usually isn’t very kind to pitchers, who would rather not pitch in altitude. But the market isn’t that strong for the best remaining starting pitcher, coming off an OK but nothing special season with the Texas Rangers, especially when it involves giving up a draft pick.
That’s why the Rockies suddenly seem very strong in the chase for Gallardo. They wouldn’t have to give up a draft pick like the Orioles (14th overall) or Astros (18th overall). Add that to their very shaky rotation: Jorge De La Rosa, Jordan Lyles, Tyler Chatwood, Chad Bettis, Jon Gray, Eddie Butler, Tyler Matzek, Jeff Hoffman and Tyler Anderson. No one is “Ace” material. Maybe in a few years for the young guys, but nothing yet. Not that Gallardo is that level of pitcher, but if anyone needs an upgrade in any form, it’s the Rockies.
The Orioles don’t want to give him a fourth year on his contract, which is something Gallardo wants (probably looking for a four-year, $50 million or more contract). The Astros are more nitpicky about their draft pick, and seem to be a bit more in the business of going after a pitcher than the Orioles. But the Rockies, even if it takes their payroll to well beyond $100 million in 2016 when you add their arbitration numbers, remain the leading competitor for his services.
Gallardo, 30, has pitched 180 innings or more in a season seven straight years. He’s still durable, still capable of some very good pitching performances. But his strikeout-walks ratio dropped to 1.78 last season, he gave up more hits per inning than ever before and his WHIP (1.1416) is the highest of his career. He’s not the guy to turn a franchise around, but when the pitching situation is average at best, Gallardo can be considered an upgrade and when you look at the contracts other players and especially pitchers have gotten, he’ll likely end up with the kind of money he’s been looking for.