Although the Rangers earlier today picked up Cole Hamels in trade, his value to the team was more about post-2015 than about helping for the stretch (the Rangers are 8.0 out in the West, and behind six other teams for the AL Wild Card). It’s not a surprise, then, that they’re considering moving free-agent-to-be Yovani Gallardo.
What’s a mild surprise is that we haven’t yet heard the Cubs connected to Gallardo, given that he’s a mid-tier rental, which seems to be where the Cubs might wind up if they don’t pull of something involving a big fish like Tyson Ross.
Well, “haven’t yet heard the Cubs connected to Gallardo” … until now:
gallardo starts against yanks tonite. so far dodgers, cubs, jays showin most interest in YG, yanks, giants on periphery
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 30, 2015
Gallardo, 29, was coming off some disappointing years in Milwaukee when the Rangers picked him up in the offseason. This year, he’s posted a nice 3.19 ERA … but a 3.70 FIP and 4.20 xFIP. His homers are way down this year (unnaturally so), his walk rate is up to 8.9% (6.6% last year), and his strikeout rate is a meager 16.1%, way down from his peak years in the low-to-mid-20s.
How much would it take to get Gallardo? I’m thinking not very much.
The Rangers might say they’re willing to hold onto Gallardo and just get a compensation pick for him when he leaves in free agency, but that assumes he rejects a qualifying offer – if you were Gallardo’s agent, would you really recommend he do that? In this coming free agent class? Coming off multiple years of declining performance?
The Rangers know that.
The other consideration with Gallardo is the $14 million he’s making this year, leaving a not-so-insubstantial $5ish million owed to him this year. So, it’s not just about beating the value of a comp pick, it’s about how much of that salary you’re willing to take on. The Rangers may be happy to get a marginal prospect and save $4 or $5 million in the process.
The question then is whether Gallardo is worth picking up at all. For me, I see much more to like about Ian Kennedy, for one example (to say nothing of an obviously more attractive rental like Mike Leake), whose “bad” year seems to be almost completely due to a flukey high HR/FB rate. I’d much rather bet on a nice two-month stretch from Kennedy than Gallardo, who has consistently been meh for three years running.
Maybe, when it comes down to the wire, nothing else out there makes sense and the Cubs pick up Gallardo for very little. I wouldn’t hate it, because Gallardo is better than what the Cubs have now going out in the fifth spot.