TUESDAY: The Orioles are expected to try and restructure their agreement with Gallardo, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link), and it’s unlikely that the matter will be resolved quickly. It’s a rather risky move on the Orioles’ part, as Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun observes that Gallardo’s camp may well not be willing to renegotiate terms. The team would have to be confident it has the internal pitching depth to fill the rotation spot Gallardo would’ve filled, as other available free agent starters will likely come with more injury red flags than Gallardo and may have an even harder time passing the Orioles’ strict physical standards.
7:26pm: The Orioles’ issue with Gallardo is concern over his shoulder, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun (links to Twitter). However, as Encina notes, Gallardo doesn’t have a history of shoulder problems, and it’s rare that a 30-year-old pitcher’s shoulder will be 100 percent clean. He further tweets that the Orioles are likely being “super cautious” due to the draft pick forfeiture that is associated with Gallardo, and if Gallardo did not come with that price, the shoulder may not be perceived as a significant issue. Kubatko tweets that the Orioles hope to get the results of additional testing on Gallardo back tomorrow.
2:29pm: It isn’t known whether the Orioles could try to restructure their agreement with Gallardo or back out of it altogether, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). Beyond the $35MM commitment, the Orioles are also concerned at having to surrender the 14th overall pick for a player they may feel isn’t up to par physically.
11:23am: The status of the three-year, $35MM agreement between the Orioles and right-hander Yovani Gallardo is “unclear” following some questions that have arisen in Gallardo’s phyiscal, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (via Twitter). MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko tweeted word from a source that there was “more work to do” on the physical before anything was made official between the two sides, and the team wanted another look at Gallardo’s MRI.
As Passan noted, the Orioles are “notorious medical sticklers,” so it could that this is simply another case of the team being very careful before committing to a major contract. While it’s unusual for a player physical to extend over two days, it’s perhaps not unexpected given Baltimore’s history.
This offseason’s signing splurge notwithstanding, the O’s have generally been hesitant about any sort of major free agent signing under Peter Angelos’ ownership. On several occasions, the Orioles have backed out of agreements with players such as Will Clark, Aaron Sele, Grant Balfour and Jair Jurrjens due to complications that arose from those players’ physicals. As Ken Rosenthal related in a 2013 column about the Balfour controversy, the now-standard practice of teams insisting on physicals before signing players stemmed from the Orioles voiding a 1998 contract with Xavier Hernandez when a post-signing examination revealed Hernandez had a torn rotator cuff.
It isn’t known what specific issue Baltimore has with Gallardo’s physical, as he has been more or less injury-free since a pair of knee injuries in 2008. In fact, Gallardo has been one of the game’s more durable starters in recent years, averaging 191 innings per season since 2009.