The Baltimore Orioles have proven to be baseball’s most thorough team when it comes to examining the health of incoming talent. In recent years their physical exams have raised red flags on several players, which have caused them to renegotiate and even tear up contracts such as they did with reliever Grant Balfour in 2013.
It’s almost become a running joke around MLB that the Orioles will find something to give them pause and reconsider a deal, but it was no joke to Yovani Gallardo. Over the weekend, he agreed to a three-year, $35 million deal with the Orioles. However, by Tuesday, that deal was in question when the Orioles grew concerned about the wear and tear on his shoulder during their exam.
Early Wednesday, there was real concern that the deal would completely fall apart as a result of the team’s concerns, but now comes word that both sides have agreed to a restructed deal.
As first reported by MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko, Gallardo has agreed to a two-year deal with a third-year option. Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun adds that Gallardo will earn $20 million over the two guaranteed years, with the option bringing the total value to $33 million. It’s essentially the same deal if Gallardo proves healthy and effective over the first two seasons, only with added pressure do do both.
Some might say this is the deal Baltimore should have offered in the first place. Gallardo’s market had been extremely slow to develop based on a number of factors, including the fact the signing team would have to forfeit a draft pick. The Orioles went ahead and forfeited a second a pick this week after also signing Dexter Fowler, so they obviously decided that wouldn’t be restricting factor.
Gallardo has proven durable over his career, making 30 or more starts in each season since 2009. However, he’s never been one to gobble up innings either and his stuff has clearly diminished in recent seasons, leading to concerns of a greater decline. Such a decline could be exacerbated pitching regularly in Camden Yards against tough AL East lineups.
The jury is still out on whether Gallardo will fit in, and whether or not he’ll provide enough of an upgrade to matter. The rotation is in rough shape about Wie-Yin Chen left town, leaving Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Ubaldo Jimenez and Miguel Gonzalez as the candidates to fill out their rotation. Overall it’s an inconsistent and uninspiring group, meaning Gallardo will have to lead and the rest will have to improve if the Orioles hope to be relevant.
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