The Orioles have made contact with the representatives of Yovani Gallardo to express interest in the free agent righty, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. Encina cautions that it is still early in the process and there does not appear to be any likelihood of near-term movement. Indeed, we heard recently that Gallardo’s agent expects it to take some time for his market to develop.
Gallardo, 29, took the twentieth spot on the top fifty free agent list of MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes. While he no longer profiles as a top-of-the-rotation arm, Gallardo fits in the mold of other recent free agent hurlers who have commanded four-year deals at better than $12MM annually. Dierkes predicts that he can achieve a $52MM guarantee on the open market.
Of course, one of those recent comparables — Ubaldo Jimenez — signed his deal with Baltimore two years ago. That contract was, and still is, the richest pitching contract ever given out by the club.
The O’s needed to give up a draft pick to sign Jimenez, and the same would be required to add Gallardo, who declined a qualifying offer from the Rangers. Baltimore owns the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft and stands to add two more top selections if and when Chris Davis and Wei-Yin Chen sign with new teams.
Baltimore’s staff certainly appears to be in need of supplementation, as MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk explained in his offseason outlook piece on the club. Gallardo comes with his share of risk — metrics suggest that his sub-3.50 ERA over the last two seasons has been about half a run per nine lucky — but he has been exceedingly durable and has a a nice overall track record of production.