Here’s a look at the AL and NL Central:
- The Royals and Yovani Gallardo were in touch as recently as Wednesday, sources tell Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The Royals are on the hunt for pitching and they have been linked to Gallardo several times throughout the winter. Gallardo, 30 in February, is coming off a solid season with the Rangers in which he totaled 184 1/3 innings of 3.42 ERA ball for his hometown club, averaging 5.9 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 to go along with a 49.3 percent ground-ball rate. However, he’s seen his strikeout rate dip considerably over the past three seasons, and his 90.4 mph average fastball in 2015 was more than two miles per hour slower than his 92.7 mph peak. Gallardo took the No. 20 spot on the top fifty free agent list of MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes, who predicts that he can achieve a $52MM guarantee on the open market.
- In this week’s mailbag, a reader asked Jason Beck of MLB.com if the Tigers have become overly conservative when it comes to the idea of trading prospects. Of course, former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski was never shy about trading young talent in an effort to contend in the present. Beck does believe that Detroit is weary about giving up talented prospects, not just for future seasons, but because of depth in the here-and-now. Injuries have caught up with the Tigers over the last couple of years and Beck believes that they are looking to hang on to their best youngsters as possible fill-ins.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington is aware that he is gambling somewhat by placing newly-acquired John Jaso at first base. “We recognize there is risk,” Huntington said, according to Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We recognize we just experienced a tough defensive season at first base. At the same time, we also recognize that for us to be successful, there are going to have to be calculated risks. In our minds, this is a good one to take. “We feel like the offensive upside is worth the calculated gamble that he’s going to be able to play first base.”