It wasn’t Scherzer or Shields. It wasn’t Hamels (although by all reports the Rangers went in deep on acquiring him).
It wasn’t anyone who is going to shake up the baseball world (in fact, this was the third biggest story on MLB Radio yesterday, following the Scherzer signing and a Cubs-Astros trade).
But, Yovani Gallardo is the biggest news the Rangers are likely to make this offseason. Texas acquired him from Milwaukee for three minor leaguers, including Luis Sardinas, although the Brewers already have a great young shortstop named Jean Segura.
Gallardo was available for cheap because he’s in the walk year of his contract, meaning he will be eligible for a Qualifying Offer at the end of the season, meaning he will, like every single player before him, turn it down, meaning he will net a first-round compensatory pick in next year’s draft.
So, basically, the Rangers traded three prospects for one, and get to use Gallardo for thirty starts this year. Not a bad deal.
Gallardo isn’t a world-beater, but he is steady. He’ll be only twenty-nine when the season starts. He was as All-Star in 2010, and was seventh in NL Cy Young voting in 2011. And he does have a very decent winning percentage of .582 (going 89 and 64 in his eight-year career), coming off his only losing season, with a lifetime ERA of 3.69. It’s a National League 3.69.
He’s had four 200-strikeout years out of eight in the majors. But, and this is what makes Jon Daniels salivate, he has started thirty or more games six years in a row
In fact, those numbers have led him to be called the ace of the Milwaukee Brewers. Never automatically assume a team’s number-one pitcher is an ace.
There is a reason Gallardo comes here as the number-three starter, and not as an ace, for the baseball equivalent of beads and string.
Over his 211 total major league starts, he averages just six innings per outing. While he takes the ball every fifth day, he give it back to the manager long before the game is over.
Gallardo’s not the innings eater he is made out to be. More like a nibbler. More like, when he takes the mound, expect three or more innings from the bullpen.
Perhaps the best thing about acquiring Yovani Gallardo is that Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux knows him from his first two years pitching for the Brewers. Never underestimate the power of Maddux.
So, was this a trade that is going to take the Rangers to the top? Not looking at Seattle and Los Angeles. But it does make the rotation better, and that’s really all you can ask of the Rangers at this stage of their off-season.
As TR Sullivan pointed out on MLB.com, according to Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels, this trade reinforces his belief that the Rangers fully expect to be a contender this season, and are not in rebuilding mode after losing 95 games last season.
It is not known whether Jon Daniels looked at his offense when he made that statement.