Yovani Gallardo Rumors
Ken Rosenthal's new video for FOX Sports offers a variety of trade tidbits on the Cubs, Brewers and Marlins.
- Matt Garza of the Cubs makes an intriguing trade candidate, but Rosenthal says that one can't rule out the possibility that the Cubs will keep Garza and extend him a qualifying offer at the end of the season, hoping to collect draft-pick compensation. Scott Feldman might also be traded, but Rosenthal notes that his peripherals indicate he has been lucky so far.
- Alfonso Soriano has only one year left on his eight-year, $136MM contract, which could make him a more attractive trade target than in years past, Rosenthal notes, but Soriano also has a no-trade clause, allowing him to control his destination.
- The Brewers, meanwhile, have fewer trade options, Rosenthal argues. Corey Hart is hurt, Rickie Weeks is in the midst of a poor season, and Aramis Ramirez is owed $16MM in 2014 and has a $4MM buyout on his mutual option the following season. The Brewers will be "reluctant" to trade Yovani Gallardo, whose contract carries him through next season and gives the Brewers an option on his services in 2015.
- The Marlins have received calls on relievers Steve Cishek, Ryan Webb and Mike Dunn, Rosenthal reports.
Today, the Brewers are hosting Brewers On Deck, their annual winter fan festival. Here's the news being made at the event:
- Owner Mark Attanasio says there's always a chance the Brewers could enter the bidding for free agent starter Kyle Lohse, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. "It’s a function of size of contract, length of contract." Attanasio said. "Kyle had a phenomenal two seasons the last two seasons. We just have to see if that fits in our overall scheme." Attanasio refused to specifically say if the team has spoken with Scott Boras, Lohse's agent.
- Manager Ron Roenicke indicated Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada are locks for the starting rotation leaving Mike Fiers, Wily Peralta, Mark Rogers, and Chris Narveson vying for the other three spots, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Roenicke questioned whether Narveson, who underwent rotator cuff surgery last May on his throwing shoulder, will be ready for camp; but, assistant GM Gord Ash said everything is great with the left-hander and he is not behind schedule, reports Haudricourt.
- Roenicke touted the team’s rotation depth, arguing the five starters at the beginning of the season don’t have to be the same five at the end, writes McCalvy. Roenicke referred to options like recently signed free agent reliever Tom Gorzelanny, who has experience as a starter, and prospects Tyler Thornburg and Hiram Burgos.
- Earlier today, we learned the Brewers are seeking first basemen in light of Corey Hart's knee surgery on Friday, which will force him to miss the first two months of the season. Mat Gamel, Hart's replacement, himself underwent knee surgery last May. Assistant GM Gord Ash said Gamel was examined today and "he is ready to go," Haudricourt tweeted.
- Melvin did say he is talking to a couple of free agent infielders, reports McCalvy on Twitter. Haudricourt opines it sounds like shortstop Alex Gonzalez is still in play (Twitter link). Gonzalez played 24 games for the Brewers in 2012 before his season was cut short by knee surgery.
- The Brewers will lose the only catchers on their 40-man roster, Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado, to the World Baseball Classic. Haudricourt stumped Roenicke when he asked the manager about the catching depth chart. "Don't ask me that question because I don't know," said Roenicke. "I want a guy that's going to be with us to be working with these (pitchers), to get them locked in. We're not going to have our two guys there talking to them all the time. So it's going to be difficult. There isn't (an obvious No. 3 catcher)." The Brewers will have five non-roster catchers in camp who have a combined six games of big league experience.
If a team signs a pitcher to an extension and he becomes an Opening Day starter, the club has an indication that the deal is going well. It’s too early on in the extensions for Jon Lester, Yovani Gallardo and Ricky Romero to call them successes or failures, because none of the extensions expire before 2013. But all three starters will pitch this Opening Day, a sign that the deals are going well for the teams so far.
The three extensions, signed within 18 months of one another between March, 2009 and August, 2010, are all for five years with a club option for a sixth year and are all valued within the narrow $30-30.1MM range.
The pitchers signed similar extensions because they were on statistically similar career paths before finalizing the deals. And fortunately for the Red Sox, Brewers and Blue Jays, the pitchers have performed just as well - maybe even better - since accepting their clubs’ multi-million dollar offers.
Lester, the first to sign, has been one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game since 2009 (WAR says Cliff Lee is the only lefty who pitched better in ’09-’10). In 411 1/3 innings (64 starts) since signing, Lester has posted a 3.33 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9.
Gallardo, the lone right-hander in the group, signed last April, a year after the Red Sox locked Lester up. Since the ink dried on his deal with Milwaukee, Gallardo (pictured) has logged 178 innings (30 starts) and posted a 3.84 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9.
Romero broke out last year, posting a 3.73 ERA in 210 innings. That prompted the Blue Jays to lock him up in August, so he has made just nine starts since signing his deal. The 26-year-old posted respectable numbers over the final month and a half of the season: a 4.26 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9.
The trio has stayed healthy and effective so far, but with three to five years remaining on the deals, there’s ample time for the extensions to backfire. All three teams were willing to take that risk when they offered tens of millions to the promising pitchers and, at least so far, the investments have paid off.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
Happy Holidays to all of MLBTR's readers. Here is today's batch of links...
- Yovani Gallardo was delighted to learn of the deal that brought Zack Greinke to Milwaukee, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- The Ricky Nolasco deal leaves the Marlins with $41.5MM in contractual committments for nine players this season, writes Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post. The right-hander made his three-year extension worth $26.5MM official early this morning.
- In today's blog post at ESPN (Insider req'd), Buster Olney says the Yankees are unlikely to bring Marcus Thames back for the 2011 season since they need reserve players capable of providing flexibility on defense.
- Astros GM Ed Wade told Joseph Duarte of The Houston Chronicle that he believes he had enough "protection on the back end of the bullpen" to trade Matt Lindstrom. "With the ability to go out and add two more young arms to create more depth in the system and balance the payroll, this was a sensible deal for us to make."
- MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling muses about some players who have taken their time finding a new team this offseason.
On this date two years ago, instant replay was used for the first time in baseball history, resolving a fair or foul call on an Alex Rodriguez home run against the Rays at Tropicana Field. Third base umpire Brian Runge originally called the ball a homer, and that call stood upon further review. Numerous umpire gaffes have some clamoring for expanded use of instant replay, but so far Major League Baseball hasn't budged.
Here's a look at what's been written around the baseball blogosphere...
- Amazin' Avenue looks at the illogicality of the Jeff Francoeur trade.
- Meanwhile, Baseball Time In Arlington recaps the last trade of the season.
- North And South Of Royal Brougham suggests Ted Lilly for the 2011 Mariners.
- The Process Report explains how the Rays used Jose Lobaton to manipulate their potential playoff roster.
- Cubs Pack provides Jim Hendry with an offseason to-do list.
- True Blue LA wonders what the Dodgers should do with James Loney.
- Capitol Avenue Club hands out some Braves minor league awards.
- Disciples of Uecker compares Yovani Gallardo's contract to those of some other great young pitchers.
- Saber By The Bay has some good news for Tigers fans looking ahead to next season.
- Midwest Sports Fans builds a roster of players who played for the Indians and White Sox, a la Manny Ramirez.
- The Nats Blog thinks it's time for Nyjer Morgan to go.
- MLB Depth Charts created the Tommy John Surgery Tracker in the wake of Stephen Strasburg's injury.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
Technically, the Blue Jays entered uncharted territory today. They committed more money ($30.1MM) to Ricky Romero than any team has ever committed to a pitcher with less than two years of service time. But in reality, the extension is all about precedent.
“It’s all about comparables and comparable deals and what else has been done,” Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said this evening, comparing Romero to Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester and Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo.
Both Lester ($30MM) and Gallardo ($30.1MM) signed deals worth virtually the same amount as Romero’s. The three extensions cover the exact same five seasons (one year of pre-arbitration, three arbitration seasons and one free agent season) and all include $13MM team options for the players’ second free agent years. It would be hard to construct three more similar contracts.
And it would be hard to find three more similar pitchers. If you compare Romero to Lester and Gallardo at the time they signed their respective contracts, you notice striking similarities. All three had made between 52 and 59 starts, posted ERAs between 3.57 and 3.94, allowed between 28 and 33 homers and walked between 134 and 141 batters. All three were selected within the first two rounds of the amateur draft and all three were 24 or 25 when they agreed to their respective deals.
There are differences, of course. Gallardo is right-handed and walks and strikes out more batters than the two lefties. Lester and Gallardo missed time early in their careers, whereas Romero has been fully healthy. Anthopoulos realizes the inherent risk of committing tens of millions to a pitcher, but says Romero has the stuff to improve over the course of the deal.
“You always have concerns when you make a commitment,” Anthopoulos said. “What the reaction might be on the part of the player, but we see a guy like Ricky continuing to improve. We think he’s going to be an innings eater, we think he’s going to be a horse [and] we think he’s going to continue to evolve.”
There's no question that Lester and Gallardo have continued evolving since signing their contracts. Lester has improved his strikeout rate since signing his extension two offseasons ago. And Gallardo, who signed his contract this April, leads the National League in strikeout rate and is on pace to post the lowest full-season ERA of his career. The Blue Jays hope and believe Romero will develop, but they won’t be disappointed if he keeps pitching the way he has.
“Even if there wasn’t much improvement or any at all,” Anthopoulos said. “We think what he’s doing right now [is good enough]. He’s had a tremendous year for us.”
The deal is designed to save the Blue Jays money in arbitration and keep Romero in Toronto for what the Jays expect to be his prime years. Even though Romero wasn’t going to hit the open market until four winters from now, the contract is all about market value. If Romero pitches like Gallardo and Lester, the deal will be a win and if he misses extended periods of time with injuries it will be a loss. Until then, it’s neither an overpay nor a discount.
When the Brewers effectively replaced starters Manny Parra and Braden Looper with Randy Wolf and Doug Davis this offseason, the rotation seemed better-positioned to carry the team than it was last year, when Brewers pitching was largely disappointing.
Their starters posted a 5.37 ERA a year ago and their pitching staff as a whole allowed more runs than every NL club except the Nationals. GM Doug Melvin discussed trading for Kevin Correia, Jarrod Washburn, Doug Davis, Brian Bannister and others when the team was in contention last summer. The Brewers even claimed Davis, but they never made a major move.
This year the Brewers are among the worst teams in the National League in runs allowed (14th) and home runs allowed (15th). Their bullpen has been disappointing, but the starters have done better than last year, combining for a 4.70 ERA.
Yovani Gallardo has been fantastic so far, with a 3.07 ERA and 11.0 K/9. Wolf's ERA is below 4.00, but he's walking significantly more batters than he did with the Dodgers last year. Like Wolf, Dave Bush has an ERA around 4.00, but is walking far more batters than usual. Meanwhile, hitters are batting .415 on balls they put in play off of Davis. That figure should drop and drag Davis' 7.56 ERA down along with it. Rounding out the rotation, Chris Narveson pitched well against the D'Backs on Sunday, but he is no sure thing.
The Brewers have some options within the organization should their current starters falter. Carlos Villanueva has experience starting and this year he's throwing harder than ever. Villanueva, the team's pitcher of the month in April, is striking out more than a batter per inning. John Axford, ranked 23rd among Brewers prospects by Baseball America before the season, is pitching well in Triple A and could be called upon to replace Villanueva in the 'pen.
The Brewers have a solid but unremarkable rotation at this point, though they're surely hoping to see Wolf and Bush limit their free passes. We can expect Davis to improve and Villanueva could contribute, so the Brewers don't appear as desperate to acquire arms as they were a year ago. It may all be a moot point. If Milwaukee can't turn things around, they may become sellers and Jeff Suppan, Davis and Bush could be trade bait for other clubs.
Let's look at the richest contracts by service time, in terms of guaranteed money...
- The most regrettable deals were signed very early in the player's career, Young and Carmona. Might be a lesson in using up those pre-arbitration years before taking the plunge.
- The largest contract signed by a position player with less than one year of service time after Braun's deal is Evan Longoria's, which will pay him just $17.5MM over six years. Is Braun overpaid, or is Longoria underpaid? I think the answer is clear.
- Sabathia's four year, $9.5MM deal nearly tripled Roy Halladay's three year, $3.7MM deal with Toronto, which was the previous record for a pitcher with less an a year of service time.
- One only of the above contracts has expired.
Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.
The Brewers agreed to a five-year, $30.1MM extension with pitcher Yovani Gallardo today. The deal buys out all three arbitration seasons and one free agent year, and has a $13MM club option on another. SI's Jon Heyman tweets that Gallardo can void the club option by obtaining points based on Cy Young voting, while MLB.com's Adam McCalvy gives no-trade clause details. The contract is a bit loaded toward the front, with the free agent year costing only $11.25MM. MLBTR named Gallardo as an extension candidate in January and predicted the contract amount once the agreement was reached this morning. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel first reported the agreement, with the AP adding contract details.
Gallardo is an interesting case, as he had two years and 108 days of service time heading into the season but only 320 innings under his belt due to a torn ACL that caused him to miss most of '08. He would've been arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season. Coming into the season Gallardo had 22 wins, 325 strikeouts, and a 3.57 career ERA. McCalvy deduced that Jon Lester was the comparable used, as Gallardo's new deal mirrors that contract and exceeds it by $100K. Gallardo now appears to own the biggest contract signed by a pitcher with less than three years service time.
Some links as Spring Training games get started...
- Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports writes that Aroldis Chapman may be the most well-known of the recent Cuban defectors hoping to make an MLB impact, but that he's hardly the only one.
- The Hendricks brothers, who represent Chapman now, reached a settlement with API, who used to represent the lefty, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com.
- The Justin Upton deal should work for both sides, writes Tyler Hissey of Around the Majors. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic warns that there's some risk involved from Arizona's perspective, and wonders if B.J. Upton's recent struggles factored in his brother's decision to sign an extension now.
- The Mets have called the Padres about Adrian Gonzalez, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter).
- Yovani Gallardo's agent had some talks with the Brewers about a long-term deal last spring, but nothing came of them, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that Joe Crede is hitting, throwing and waiting for a job offer.
- Red Sox Assistant GM Ben Cherington tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com that the club has catchers in the upper minors who are "capable of coming up and playing." From defensive catchers like Dusty Brown and Mark Wagner to the powerful Luis Exposito, the team has potential behind the plate, though it doesn't have certainty for 2011.
- R.J. Anderson of FanGraphs wonders if Eric Hinske will encourage Jason Heyward to sign a long-term deal, like Evan Longoria did a couple springs ago.
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star reports that another team offered Noel Arguelles more than the $7MM bonus he will receive from the Royals.