It took a while, but Yovani Gallardo is officially headed to Texas.
We reported Sunday evening about the developing deal between the Rangers and Brewers to send the long-time Milwaukee ace to Texas; but any additional details were few and far between.
Earlier this morning Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the two clubs had a deal in place and the trade was pending medical review.
Now that the trade is official, we have a much clearer picture of how things shake out for both clubs.
The Rangers receive Gallardo and $4 million cash to cover part of his $13 million salary in 2015. He’ll be a free-agent for the first time at the end of the season, but Texas is hopeful they’ll be able to retain him long-term.
Gallardo, 28, will help solidify a rotation that was one of the worst in baseball a year ago. He’s been durable and consistent over the past six years and will form a strong front three alongside incumbents Yu Darvish and Derek Holland.
The Brewers save $9 million in salary and acquire three prospects including pitchers Marcos Diplan and Corey Knebel and middle infielder Luis Sardinas.
Diplan, 18, is a high-ceiling right-hander who was signed out of the Dominican in July 2013 for $1.3 million. At the time of his signing he was a highly-ranked international prospect ranked No. 8 by MLB.com and ranked No. 6 by Baseball America.
He has a fastball that consistently sits in the 90-93 mph range and can ramp it up to 95 mph when necessary. He is also regarded for an above average curveball and an average – but improving – changeup.
Over 13 starts in the Domnican Summer League he went 7-2 with a 1.54 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and a 57/36 K/BB ratio in 64.1 innings. He has a big league arm, but control is currently an area of improvement for Diplan and the Brewers.
It’s believed that Diplan has the highest-upside of any of the prospects coming to Milwaukee in the trade.
Knebel, 23, was a first-round draft pick for the Detroit Tigers in 2013, but came over to Texas last summer in the Joakim Soria trade. He entered the 2014 season as Detroit’s No. 7 prospect according to Baseball America.
The right-hander boasts electric stuff with a fastball that sits 94-96 mph and touches 98 mph with regularity and a curveball that is – in a word – redonkulous. He has a below-average changeup and his control is viewed as a work in progress, but he’s believed to be a potential shutdown closer in the near future.
He absolutely dominated in the minor leagues going from Single-A to Triple-A in two years with a cumulative 1.65 ERA, .090 WHIP, 18 saves, and a 104/32 K/BB ratio in 76.1 innings pitched.
The one red flag with Knebel is that he was shut down late last season with a sprained UCL. It did not require surgery and the Brewers were clearly happy with what they saw when they examined the medical notes, but it’s still a cause for concern with a young hard-throwing reliever.
Sardinas, 21, was just ranked by Baseball America as the Rangers seventh best prospect for the second year in a row. He was ranked as a top 100 prospect by both MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus in each of the past two seasons.
Sardinas has good speed on the bases, but little to no power. He struggled badly in 2014 split between Double-A, Triple-A, and the Rangers; but he’s been much younger than the competition at every stop in his minor league career.
He can play shortstop or second base and was rated the best defensive infielder in the Texas farm system. It’s debatable whether he’ll hit enough to warrant an everyday role or if he’ll be more of a utility guy going forward.
Sardinas is blocked at the big league level by Jurickson Profar, Rougned Odor, and Elvis Andrus and was expendable for the Rangers.
In addition to the three young prospects coming back in the deal, Milwaukee now has financial flexibility to consider adding another starter via trade or free agency.
The rumor last night was that moving Gallardo might open the club up to acquiring free agent James Shields; a rumor that was spurred by the fact that the Brewers will clear nearly $50 million from the books by season’s end.
While there is still plenty of off-season left for the Brewers to make a splash; for the Rangers this is likely the big move of winter.
Gallardo will bolster the rotation and Texas will hope to avoid the injury bug that torpedoed their hopes of competing a year ago.
What Milwaukee does next will play a big part in evaluating this deal, but on the surface this looks like a pretty solid move for both clubs.