Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports is reporting that the Texas Rangers are close to acquiring veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo from the Milwaukee Brewers.
There is currently no word about who would be coming back to Milwaukee in the deal, but it has been reported that former top prospect Jurickson Profar is not part of the deal.
The Rangers rotation was one of the worst in Major League Baseball last year thanks to a slew of injuries and ineffectiveness. Gallardo would go a long way toward remedying those issues.
Gallardo, 28, has averaged just shy of 200 innings pitched and 200 strikeouts per season since 2009. That kind of durability and firepower were greatly lacking on the Rangers staff a year ago.
He brings far more than just the ability to eat innings, however, as he boasts a career 3.69 ERA, 1.303 WHIP, and 2.59 K/BB ratio. He is coming off an uneven season that saw him post his lowest win total (8) and K/9 (6.8), but his best ERA (3.51) and BB/9 (2.5) of his career.
He’s not an ace, but he would be a very solid number two or three starter at the front of the Texas rotation alongside Yu Darvish and Derek Holland.
Gallardo is set to make $13 million in 2015 after Milwaukee exercised his club option last October. He will become a free agent for the first time at the end of the upcoming season.
The trade would also reunite Gallardo with Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux who was his pitching coach when he first broke into the big leagues with Milwaukee.
As for the Brewers, the timing of this move seems odd given that the club was competitive for much of last season and seemed poised to compete for a pennant once again with Ryan Braun reportedly healthy for the first time in nearly two seasons.
It’s possible that the Brewers looked around the recently reloaded NL Central and realized they weren’t set to compete in 2015. If that’s the case, a decision to shed salary and add a young piece or two that will be around beyond next season makes sense.
Under that scenario, and assuming they don’t add another arm, the trade would leave the Brewers looking at a rotation of Matt Garza, Kyle Lohse, Wily Peralta, Mike Fiers, and Jimmy Nelson.
That rotation is good, but not great; and certainly not likely to compete in the NL Central.
The second school of thought, however, is that this move is a precursor to something much bigger for Milwaukee.
Rosenthal and Joel Sherman of the New York Post are speculating that it could be a setup to make a run at a certain free agent starter who has seen his market fail to develop this winter.
That’s nearly $50 million the Brewers are slated to clear from their payroll after this season and, as Rosenthal mentions, Milwaukee swept in late to land Lohse after draft pick compensation killed his market too.
If the Brewers are able to land a top prospect and turn Gallardo into James Shields or, potentially even Max Scherzer, this would be a shrewd move and further the arms race in the NL Central.
More on this story as it unfolds and we learn who is going to back to Milwaukee in the swap.