Blue Jays rumors: Yovani Gallardo and tire-kicking fluff
The Blue Jays were recently reported to have touched base with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but there doesn’t seem to be much meat to the rumor
Free agency is still well-stocked with B-level talent that should begin to come off the board over the course of the next week, one of whom is former Rangers and Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo. The right-hander’s name was batted around close to the July 31st trade deadline as a potential trade target before landing David Price, and on Thursday, Jon Heyman wrote that the Blue Jays had checked in on Gallardo.
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“The Blue Jays checked in recently and the Dodgers still make sense (though they seem intent on keeping that draft pick, even if it’s pick No. 26).” This draft pick attachment along with the overall paper-thin nature of the report initially caused the rumor to pass by without making much of an impact, but understandably, it’s caught the eye of a starved, winter-locked fan base.
Along with the draft pick attached to Gallardo, the obvious stumbling block here is money. It’s reasonably safe to assume that he will earn a four-year deal worth $14-16 million annually, though with the current market, I’ve stopped being surprised.
Toronto evidently chose to jump out ahead of the free agent market, locking up Marco Estrada and signing J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth an average of $12 million annually. Given that the Blue Jays chose to identify an early target at that general price level and be so aggressive in their pursuit, that immediately makes Gallardo an illogical fit in their offseason narrative. Not to mention the fact that Toronto likely does not have the budget room to fit Gallardo, even on backloaded deal. Especially if they hope to have some money stored up for the trade deadline.
For his part, of course, Gallardo is a fine pitcher that any club would be thrilled to have. The 29-year old has topped 180.0 innings pitched for seven straight seasons, making a minimum of 30 starts each year with his single-season ERA topping 3.85 just once.
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Like any arm, however, there is reason for worry. His average PITCHf/x velocity has dropped from 92.6 in 2010 and 2011 to a career-low of 90.5 last year. After recording a K/9 above 9.0 for four consecutive seasons from 2009 to 2012, his past three seasons have seen a steady decline with totals of 7.2, 6.8 and 5.9.
The National League could also appeal to Gallardo given his time with Milwaukee and abilities at the plate. Over 470 career plate appearances, Gallardo holds a .198 batting average and a .556 OPS with 12 home runs. Not quite Dontrelle Willis, but impressive numbers nonetheless.
So while it’s worthy of a small conversation, there’s no value in me creating a conversation any bigger than it should be. Gallardo, while a perfectly attractive free agent option, simply doesn’t the current budget or the general arc of Toronto’s offseason strategy.