Rangers Rotation Gets a Huge Boost
Rangers GM Jon Daniels addressed one of the team’s top priorities on Monday, adding a much-needed veteran arm in the form of right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo from the Milwaukee Brewers. The trade gives Texas a quality starter that likely falls into the No. 3 spot in the rotation behind Yu Darvish and Derek Holland.
This is a great thing, especially when looking back to last season when Rangers staters were dropping like flies. This latest move gives the rotation more answers than questions. And with Spring Training only about five weeks away, it couldn’t come at a better time.
Gallardo went 8-11 last season with a 3.51 ERA in 32 starts for Milwaukee. He is an innings-eater and has a reputation for throwing with intensity every time he goes out on the mound. Gallardo is one of only nine major leaguers with at least 180 innings in each of the last six seasons. He is 89-64 (.582 winning percentage) over his career in 211 starts since 2007, all with Milwaukee.
The best part of the trade was what they had to give up, or rather, did not have to give up. Going to the Brewers were infielder Luis Sardinas and pitchers Corey Knebel and Marcos Diplan, good prospects but not on the same level as some of the Rangers’ best in the system. Milwaukee even threw in $4 million as part of the deal to cover Gallardo’s bonus and a portion of his $12 million salary for 2015.
Gallardo is entering the last year of his deal and can become a free agent next winter. A graduate of Trimble Tech, he still resides in Ft. Worth. Think playing for his hometown team hurts his chances of re-signing here? Let’s put it this way – it can’t hurt.
New Rangers Manager Jeff Banister certainly knows what he is getting in Gallardo, having seen him up close and personal in the National League. He noted on a conference call that one of the main things he loves about Gallardo is the intensity in which he pitches.
More than intensity, the Rangers just needed able bodies to be able to start games this coming season. Matt Harrison underwent back surgery last year and who knows if he will ever make it back to the majors. Martin Perez had Tommy John surgery and should be sidelined until at least July. Gallardo allows Daniels and Banister to be more selective as to which pitchers finish out the Rangers rotation, rather than scramble to find three quality options. The difference is small, yet huge.
Next up for Daniels is addressing the bullpen, especially finding some left-handed help. Neal Cotts is still a possibility to return, but he remains unsigned. He added righty Gonzalez Germen from the Yankees on Tuesday in exchange for cash. Tanner Scheppers is healthy again, and the Rangers are counting on Neftali Feliz to once again become an effective closer in Arlington.
Pitchers and catchers report to Surprise, Arizona, on February 20.