Yovani Gallardo

Along with Wei-Yin Chen, Yovani Gallardo, who last played for the Texas Rangers, is the best pitcher left in free agency. The Rangers would like to retain his services for a while long, but offers from the Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles and maybe even the St. Louis Cardinals could be a little bit more interesting.

The 29-year old had a strong first season in Arlington after eight seasons in Milwaukee. He posted a 3.42 ERA, going 13-11 through 184.1 innings and while his WHIP and strikeout numbers aren’t as good as before, he’s clearly a solid option for the 3-4-5 starting slots in a rotation. He made $14 million last season for the Rangers, and the deal Scott Kazmir got from the Los Angeles Dodgers (3 years, $48 million) could be the benchmark to work around for those trying to sign him.

The Cardinals have faced off against Gallardo plenty of times over the years, and although they’re more interested in an outfielder or big hitter right now, there’s room and money open for a pitcher. The same goes for the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles, who have been following Gallardo for a bit. The Royals and Orioles are also focused on other things right now: Baltimore waiting for Chris Davis to decide if he’s staying or not, while the Royals are in the same situation with Alex Gordon.

Until those issues are resolved, it might be a while before things move forward on the Gallardo front. That could leave an opening for the Rangers to re-sign the right-handed pitcher who was an All-Star and Silver Slugger in 2010 while finishing 7th in the Cy Young voting a year later, but at the moment, it doesn’t look like they have the kind of money Gallardo is looking for, so they’re not pursuing the re-signing options too aggressively.

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