The Astros and Orioles are among the clubs showing interest in free-agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo, according to a pair of reports from Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). It’s not clear if there have been significant discussions between Houston and Gallardo’s camp, but Morosi indicates that Baltimore is talking with Gallardo’s agent, Bobby Witt of Octagon. Drellich, though, does point out that Jim Stevenson, the scout who originally signed Gallardo, is now with the Astros. Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets that the Dodgers aren’t planning to enter the Gallardo market.
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. While it looked like he might settle in as a potential front-line arm from 2009-12 when he averaged about 200 innings and better than a strikeout per frame each year, Gallardo has settled in as more of a mid-rotation arm. 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.
Nonetheless, Gallardo has proven to be a highly durable arm, delivering 184 or more innings in each of the past seven seasons. He’s never hit the disabled list with an arm-related injury, either, so clubs can feel reasonably confident that he can supply 180 to 200 league-average innings. That skill set has proven valuable on the free-agent market in the past, as evidenced by contracts for players like Ricky Nolasco, Ervin Santana, Scott Feldman, Jason Vargas and more. Drellich notes that a four-year deal seems like a necessary requirement to secure Gallardo’s services, which is line with MLBTR’s expectations from early November, when we predicted a four-year, $52MM contract.