Tag: Yovani Gallardo

Seth Smith Traded to Orioles for Yovani Gallardo: Latest Details, Reaction

The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to trade right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo to the Seattle Mariners for outfielder Seth Smith

The Orioles officially announced the deal on Twitter, also noting they sent cash considerations to the Mariners.  

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said Gallardo was an ideal fit for what the team needed heading into 2017.

“Gallardo gives us the veteran presence that we have been searching for,” he said, per the team’s official Twitter account. “He has a track record of durability and success as a starting pitcher. After examining the free agent and trade market, Yovani is the best fit for our club as we move forward this offseason.”

Per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, the Orioles gained a little financial flexibility to address other holes on the roster by saving $4 million in the trade. 

The move is unusual for the Mariners, who traded a younger and cheaper starter in Taijuan Walker to the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier in the offseason. They are replacing him with Gallardo, who posted a 5.42 ERA with 85 strikeouts and 61 walks in 118 innings last season. 

The Orioles needed to find a right fielder who can take the place of Mark Trumbo, assuming he doesn’t re-sign as a free agent. Even though Smith can’t match Trumbo’s power, he’s a better overall hitter with a .344 career on-base percentage and will cost only $7 million in 2017, per Baseball-Reference.com.

This is a low-key deal that fills a clear need for both teams, though the Orioles’ side looks better because Smith is a more valuable commodity at this point in his career than Gallardo is. 

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Yovani Gallardo Injury: Updates on Orioles Pitcher’s Shoulder and Return

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo will miss at least his next few starts after being placed on the disabled list due toright shoulder bicep tendinitis.” An exact return date has yet to be announced.

Continue for updates. 

Gallardo’s Diagnosis, Treatment Revealed

Monday, April 25

Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reported the Orioles are “encouraged” by Gallardo’s MRI, noting there was “nothing new” revealed by the test.

Ghiroli also said Gallardo will “probably get an injection and rest for now.”

Showalter Comments After Gallardo Placed on DL

Sunday, April 24

The Orioles announced Saturday that Gallardo was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

“Until we get the MRI and [team orthopedist] Dr. [Michael] Jacobs sees it, you don’t know exactly what it is,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). “I don’t think anybody knows what’s causing the symptoms he has. It’s not acute pain or anything. It was just general weakness there.”

Orioles GM Comments on Gallardo’s Recovery

Saturday, April 23

General manager Dan Duquette provided more insight as to the team’s plans for the right-hander, per MASN’s Roch Kubatko“Hopefully (Gallardo) will respond to a period of rest and rehabilitation and return to contribute to the team.”

Gallardo Comments on Injury

Friday, April 22

After the game, he discussed how his shoulder was giving him problems on the mound, per the Baltimore Sun‘s Eduardo A. Encina:

My shoulder just didn’t feel right. To be honest, it was one of those feelings that I’ve never had my whole career. I’ve never had any issues with my shoulder and I hadn‘t been. For some reason, in the bullpen it just didn’t feel right. I wasn‘t able to extend to get that release point. I think that’s why the ball was just up and all over the place. Felt like the ball was coming out of my hand and the strength wasn‘t there. Hopefully it wasn‘t anything serious.

Gallardo only lasted two innings in his last start—a 4-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Friday night:

Gallardo’s Velocity Dipping in 2016 from 2015

The injury is concerning since shoulder/elbow fatigue can foreshadow a much larger problem, such as a need for Tommy John surgery. According to BrooksBaseball.net, Gallardo‘s fastball velocity is 87.95 mph through four starts in 2016. That’s nearly a four mph drop from 2015, another worrying sign.

While the extent of his shoulder issues remain unknown, major surgery is at least a possibility.

Showalter won’t need to worry about finding a replacement for Gallardo in the rotation, with Kevin Gausman set to take the hill Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Gausman made 17 starts and appeared in 25 games last year, finishing 4-7 with a 4.25 ERA. Once considered a top prospect in MLB, the 25-year-old has yet to fulfill those massive expectations. Especially if Gallardo is forced to miss a long period of time, the Orioles will need Gausman to take a major step in his development.

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Yovani Gallardo to Orioles: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

On the heels of a strong 2015 season with the Texas Rangers, starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo cashed in as a free agent on Feb. 20 by reportedly signing with the Baltimore Orioles.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Gallardo got a three-year deal worth $35 million from the Orioles. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports confirmed the deal. 

Heyman added that the deal includes a fourth-year option and some of the money is being deferred. 

However, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday that the status of the deal is unclear, as some questions have come up concerning Gallardo’s physical. Roch Kubatko of MASN added that the Orioles “reviewed Gallardo’s MRI and want to check on something. Was told early more work to be done, diagnostic tests.”

The Rangers acquired Gallardo from the Milwaukee Brewers last offseason in hopes of fortifying a starting rotation that struggled in 2014. He certainly helped, as he went 13-11 with a 3.42 ERA and was a driving force behind Texas winning the American League West.

The 29-year-old righty was regarded as one of the biggest All-Star snubs in the league, due largely to a streak of scoreless innings in June and July that rivaled some of the best such runs in Rangers history, according to ESPN Stats & Info:

The Rangers could have dealt Gallardo prior to the trade deadline, but they decided to pass up acquiring assets in favor of making a run toward the postseason.

While the Toronto Blue Jays ousted Texas in the American League Division Series in five games, it is difficult to argue with the Rangers’ decision to keep Gallardo, as he was a huge part of the team.

Regardless of what other moves the Rangers might make with their rotation this offseason, losing a pitcher of Gallardo’s caliber will be tough to overcome. He was the only cog in the rotation that manager Jeff Banister could count on to turn in a quality start almost every time out until the team acquired Cole Hamels ahead of the deadline.

During Gallardo’s impressive scoreless innings streak, Banister pointed out the right-hander had evolved, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News:

I think the kind of stuff he pitches with now, he understands who he is and the type of pitcher he is. I think he pitches more to the ground ball a little bit on a regular basis. He doesn’t carry the same velocity that he did early on in his career.

He understands how to move it around more, to cut it, to sink it. When you can nail that outside fastball and pitch in when you need to, then you can expand the strike zone with a breaking ball. He’s a very tough competitor.

Gallardo has made significant strides on the mound, and while he may not be as overpowering as he was earlier in his career, he seemingly has a better understanding of how to get hitters out.

The 2010 All-Star is also accustomed to the postseason stage. He made playoff starts in 2008, 2011 and 2015 and holds a 2-2 record with a 2.32 ERA across 31 innings. Though it isn’t a large sample size, it is enough to know he isn’t going to fold in high-pressure situations.

The Orioles badly needed to add another starter to their rotation after losing Wei-Yin Chen to the Miami Marlins. Baltimore’s starting five doesn’t boast a true ace, but Gallardo joins a deep mix that includes Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez and Kevin Gausman. 

Gausman has the highest upside in the bunch and could emerge as the No. 1 starter the Orioles need. Gallardo gives Baltimore a stable presence in the middle of the rotation as it looks to keep pace with the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in the loaded AL East. 

Plenty of big-name pitchers hit the free-agent market, and while Gallardo may not have the same cachet as many of them, he could turn out to be among the best values.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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MLB Free Agents: Latest Buzz Ahead of Spring Training

A former CY Young winner, a former World Series MVP, a solid starting righty and this year’s top international prospect all have something in common: They’re all still available as MLB free agents.

Pitchers and catchers report in two days, but there are still some big names who don’t know where they will be playing in 2016. Teams looking to add a piece before the season still have a chance to make a splash with one of these players.

There are deals that are supposedly already done but have yet to be signed. Other players are still surveying their options. Some of the remaining free agents will help a team’s chances to compete this year. Others will be an investment for the future.

Veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo was very close to a three-year deal with the Orioles as of Feb. 10, according to Buster OlneyHowever, the deal has yet to get done.

Gallardo is probably the best remaining starting pitcher on the market, but some have questioned if the prospective deal is worth it for Baltimore. Camden Chat, the Orioles’ SB Nation site, argues that it is.

Jacob Kornhauser at Call to the Pen goes a step further.  

He says the deal needs to get done—and soon—if Baltimore wants to be competitive in the AL East.

Another pitcher, Tim Lincecum, is supposed to have a showcase this month in front of multiple teams to demonstrate the progress he’s made since his hip surgery in September, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

It will be clearer where Lincecum is likely to go after that showcase. Giants executive vice president Brian Sabean told Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle that it’s a “long shot” Lincecum returns to the Giants. His absence has already been felt by the fans.

Free agent third baseman David Freese is weighing his options as well. After batting a career-low .257 with the Los Angeles Angels last season, he’s looking for a fresh start.

MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince told 92.3 the Fan in Cleveland on Monday that he thinks Freese could end up with the Cleveland Indians thanks to a lack of openings at third base around the league.

Braves president of baseball operations John Hart told MLB network radio yesterday that Atlanta intends to be active in pursuing international free agents.

ESPN reports that Atlanta is supposed to be one of the main suitors for Lazaro Armenteros, the No. 1 prospect in Cuba. The report also says Armenteros worked out with the Braves last week.

One AL scout compared the 16-year-old Cuban outfielder’s combination of speed and power to Willie Mays and Bo Jackson, Bob Nightingale of USA Today reports.

The uncertainty around these players will make the first part of spring training interesting. Depending on where they land, they may drastically change the outlook for the regular season as well.

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Fact or Fiction on All of MLB Offseason Week 14’s Free-Agency, Trade Rumors

The unofficial end of baseball’s offseason is quickly approaching. Pitchers and catchers will begin reporting to camp next week, and soon, we’ll have a clear picture of how every team’s roster is going to look on Opening Day.

Of course, with a slew of notable free agents still available and both the inevitable injuries and surprise performances that come along with spring training, those pictures are sure to change. In fact, some teams could be ordering new photos before the exhibition games get underway.

Has a team learned from its past mistakes? Does a contender still have enough trade chips to fill multiple holes? Could we see another free-agent defection within the NL Central?

We’ll tackle all of that and more in this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction.

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Predicting Impact MLB Deals That Will Go Down During 2016 Spring Training

With spring training drawing near, we’re all mainly excited for the baseball. It’s our dear friend, and it’s been too long since we last hung out.

But don’t forget about the business, folks. Spring training always brings us a few last-minute deals, and we’re here to take a whack at predicting some of the big ones that will go down this spring.

We don’t have many to get to. Only four. Two involve predicting new homes for a couple big-name free agents. Another involves predicting the spring’s biggest trade. Lastly, there’s no time for contract extensions like spring training, and there’s one in particular on our radar.

Let’s get going with…


Yovani Gallardo Signs with the Baltimore Orioles

Major league clubs have already dropped about $2.5 billion on free agents. If they were to pool all their money together, Forbes says they could afford to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

And there are three big-name free agents still waiting to get theirs: outfielder Dexter Fowler, shortstop Ian Desmond and starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo. How much longer, oh glorious free-agent gods, must they wait?

In the case of Fowler, probably not long. There seems to be more interest in him than there is in Gallardo and Desmond, making it easier to predict that their strolls through the open market will last into spring training.

But eventually, Gallardo should get picked up by the Baltimore Orioles.

Admittedly, Orioles general manager Dan Duquette would advise everyone not to hold their breath. Gallardo is still on the market largely because he’s tied to draft-pick compensation. And for the Orioles, signing him would mean giving up the No. 14 pick in next year’s draft. No small sacrifice, that.

As the man himself recently told his cousin, Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio:

However, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun is of the mind that Gallardo remains a possibility for the Orioles. And as Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports wrote, Gallardo’s price could drop to a point that would simply be too good for the Orioles to pass up, lost draft pick be damned.

There’s a good chance of that happening. All the other top arms on what was once a crowded starting pitching market have already signed, putting a dent in the demand for starters. And knowing how they scored Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz a couple springs ago, the Orioles are just the team to take advantage of Gallardo slashing his ticket price.

There’s also the kinda-sorta important note that the Orioles really need Gallardo. They’ve lost ground in the AL East, and a good way for them to make it up would be to repair a starting pitching staff that FanGraphs currently projects as the worst in the American League.

With a 3.46 ERA over the last two seasons, Gallardo could help fix that. And here’s thinking the Orioles could have him on a cheap three-year deal they could potentially make cheaper with an opt-out.


Ian Desmond Signs with the Arizona Diamondbacks

With Gallardo safe and sound in a new home, now we have to find shelter for Ian Desmond. Let’s do that by sending him to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

If you’re thinking this is us going way off the board, well, you’re not wrong. Desmond has been linked to the Tampa Bay Rays, as reported by MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo, and many believe the Chicago White Sox would be a likely landing spot. Not so much the Diamondbacks, though. And after their trade for Jean Segura, they don’t have an obvious home at shortstop.

But if the Diamondbacks want to overcome the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in the NL West, they need as much firepower as they can get. They also have two apparent advantages over suitors such as the Rays and White Sox.

The Diamondbacks don’t have to worry as much about losing a draft pick to sign Desmond. Where the Rays would lose the No. 13 pick and the White Sox would lose the No. 28 pick, the Diamondbacks would only lose the No. 39 pick. That thing is not like the previous two things.

The Diamondbacks would also seem to have more money to spend. Baseball-Reference.com puts their projected 2016 payroll at about $95 million, which is well short of the franchise’s all-time high of $112 million in 2014. That gives them plenty of room to dip into their new $1.5 billion TV deal.

Signing Desmond would be a good excuse to do so. After averaging roughly 20 home runs per year over the last four seasons, swapping out Nationals Park for the typically homer-friendly Chase Field could allow him to do even better. For the Diamondbacks, the result would be one of the National League’s most dangerous offenses.

Where to play Desmond is more of a hurdle, but not too big of one. The Diamondbacks could sign him as a third base upgrade over Jake Lamb, or as a second base upgrade over Chris Owings. Or, they could sign Desmond to play his natural shortstop, leaving Owings, Segura and Nick Ahmed to battle for playing time at second and third base.

At the rate he’s going, the Diamondbacks might be able to get Desmond on a three- or four-year deal with an early opt-out. If they do, an NL West title wouldn’t sound too crazy.


Milwaukee Brewers Trade Jonathan Lucroy to the Washington Nationals

After going off the board with that last one, let us now return to the board to concoct a trade that would send Jonathan Lucroy from the Milwaukee Brewers to the Washington Nationals.

As Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, Brewers general manager David Stearns said this week there’s nothing brewing on Lucroy. But something could start brewing during the spring, when clubs lacking in impact talent behind the dish are more likely to get antsy.

The Nationals could be one of those. Rosenthal and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe have reported they’ve kicked the tires on Lucroy as a possible upgrade over Wilson Ramos. They’re also one of the few teams in the league that can probably afford Lucroy’s price tag.

That’s if Lucroy were to allow a deal to be done, of course. His incredibly team-friendly contract only guarantees him about $4 million more, but it comes with a limited no-trade clause. The Nationals are on his list, according to Rosenthal, so he would have to approve a trade to Washington.

But that’s not necessarily a roadblock. As Rosenthal notes, the Nationals could sway Lucroy by offering him more money:

The Nationals have done this sort of thing before, as they worked something out with Jonathan Papelbon when they traded for him last summer. It’s not hard to imagine them doing the same with Lucroy.

After all, he would be quite a nice upgrade for them behind the dish. Ramos is fine defensively, but not so much offensively. Lucroy owns a .770 career OPS, and yours truly believes his bat didn’t decline as much in 2015 as his final numbers let on. 

To get Lucroy, the Nationals certainly wouldn’t give up either of their top two prospects, Lucas Giolito and Trea Turner. But Victor Robles or Erick Fedde could be in play. Michael A. Taylor is another possibility. He’s only a fourth outfielder on the Nationals and could be appealing to a Brewers club that could very much use a high-upside center fielder.

If the Nats were to get Lucroy, they’d have another weapon for their quest to dethrone the New York Mets in the NL East. And after the Metropolitans re-signed Yoenis Cespedes, such a weapon is arguably necessary.


Baltimore Orioles Extend Manny Machado

Spring training isn’t all about last-minute signings and trades. As Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Buster Posey and Justin Verlander can vouch, it’s a great time to sign extensions worth roughly all of the dollars.

Who’s the best bet for a big-money extension this spring? We’re looking at you, Manny Machado.

Machado has all the trappings of a perfect extension candidate. He’s young but just now entering his prime years. He’s close to free agency but not too close to free agency, with his first foray into the open market set for after 2018. He plays for a club that’s not poor but still needs to worry about controlling costs. And perhaps most important of all, Machado is not a Scott Boras client.

The star third baseman told Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports in October he would love to stay in Baltimore long term, and Duquette has indicated the interest is mutual.

“We’ve already looked at that and we can look at that again,” Duquette said, per Encina. “Manny’s a great player, we’d love to have him long term.”

Coming off an .861 OPS, 35 home runs and a Gold Glove in what was only his age-22 season in 2015, now is a good time for Machado to seek a huge payday. And lest they risk losing him to the pull of free agency by waiting, now is also a good time for the Orioles to oblige him.

To do that, they could take a page out of the Los Angeles Angels’ book.

When the Angels signed Trout to his six-year, $144.5 million extension in 2014, they bought out three arbitration years at reasonable prices and three free-agent years for fair market value at over $34 million per year.

The Orioles could do basically the same thing with a five-year deal for Machado. With the two sides having already settled at $5 million for 2016, the deal could cover his final two arbitration years and three free-agent years. A good amount would be something like $130 million and would allow Machado to hit the open market after his age-28 season.

If that sounds like too much money for the Orioles, bear in mind that Machado’s really expensive years wouldn’t kick in until 2019. Presently, the Orioles only have about $30 million in guaranteed money on the books for that season, according to Spotrac. The deal we made for them and Gallardo wouldn’t change that.


That’s our whack at predicting this spring’s big extension. But between us, you might also want to keep an eye on Bryce Harper, A.J. Pollock, Jake Arrieta, Jacob deGrom and Gerrit Cole.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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Scott Miller’s Starting 9: Why Won’t Anyone Take a Chance on Yoenis Cespedes?

One month before pitchers and catchers report, we’ve still got several things to settle…


1. What’s Up with Cespedes?

While Justin Upton has surfaced, it seems Yoenis Cespedes is stuck somewhere on Mars with Matt Damon. Golfing, maybe.

What gives?

Five months ago, Cespedes was emerging as a last-minute National League MVP candidate. He joined the New York Mets at the trade deadline and immediately rocket-launched them toward the World Series.

Today, Cespedes is more invisible than Punxsutawney Phil.

Will he emerge this week? Next week? By, ahem, Groundhog Day (Feb. 2 for all you non-believers)?

The icing of Cespedes is freeze-drying into perhaps the winter’s biggest story. While Upton found a soft landing in Detroit on a six-year, $132 million deal, the man who hit a combined 35 homers with 105 RBI and a .328 on-base percentage in Detroit and New York last summer continues to scan Craigslist.

For one thing, Cespedes last summer landed at the wrong place at the wrong time. He probably could have parlayed his second-half World Series charge into untold riches in nearly any other market. Popular demand would have pressured the club to keep him. But in New York, where Mets ownership has been off balance since the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, the Mets continue to toss nickels around like one of George Halas’ (Mike Ditka’s?) manhole covers.

“The Mets are a debacle right now,” one agent told Bleacher Report. “It’s a shame that family still owns the team.”

The Mets telegraphed at season’s end the fact that they probably wouldn’t be players for Cespedes on a long-term deal, so their lack of engagement this winter is not surprising. Most projections going into this winter pegged Cespedes for roughly a six-year deal around $140 million, which would be just a bit more than Upton got from Detroit this week.

But other than a sudden interest by Baltimore last week, there hasn’t been much noise around Cespedes. And the Orioles’ interest in hindsight appeared to be simply a maneuver to roust slugger Chris Davis, who agreed with the Orioles on a seven-year, $161 million deal over the weekend.

One major league executive believes clubs like Cespedes more on a short-term deal than on a multiyear contract because of concern with how he will produce long-term.

The fact that Cespedes has played for four teams in the past four years also adds intrigue.

“The pattern has been real good initially, then some form of backing up as it goes along,” an American League executive told Bleacher Report.

“When this guy is engaged, he’s a terrific player. When he is not, he lacks the effort on defense and the at-bats aren’t as good. He has been streaky, which is not abnormal for power hitters, but the at-bats weren’t as good the longer he was somewhere.”

After Cespedes hit .287/.337/.604 with 17 homers and 44 RBI in just 57 games with the Mets last summer to lead them to the NL East title, his autumn turned weird. He became embroiled in a mini-controversy on the day of Game 4 of the NL Championship Series when, after he left the game with a sore left shoulder, it was revealed that he was seen playing golf in Chicago the morning of the game.

Then he left Game 5 of the World Series in severe pain after fouling a ball off his left knee.

As for the golf, it turned out that it was business as usual for Cespedes. He’s become hooked on the game, playing often during the season, to the point where Mets hitting coach Kevin Long last summer would ask Cespedes when he arrived at the park whether he played golf that day. And if he had, Long smiled.

“If he played golf, most of the time he hits a home run,” Long told the Wall Street Journal.

But the autumn issues may have left a lasting memory that carried into winter negotiations as well.

“Obviously, how things went in the playoffs didn’t help,” the AL executive said. “Taking himself out of the clincher with the Cubs early in the game, then [being] seen in the dugout with goggles around his neck wasn’t a good look.”

Recent industry speculation included the Tigers, but they opted for Upton. The Orioles are out after signing Davis.

The Los Angeles Angels clearly need a left fielder. Though owner Arte Moreno has steadfastly maintained he prefers to remain under the luxury-tax threshold of $189 million, if Cespedes is to get a monster contract, the Halos are one of the few organizations left that could afford it. On the other hand, Albert Pujols already is weighing down the franchise with a long-term deal, and they just got out from under another bad contract in Josh Hamilton, so there could be some aversion to romancing Cespedes long-term.

The St. Louis Cardinals, after losing Jason Heyward, have a need. So do the Houston Astros. And Cespedes would bolster a Chicago White Sox lineup big-time.

The Washington Nationals, who struck late for ace Max Scherzer last January, also are thought to be considering a similar late-winter strike this year for Cespedes.

“There are a lot of yellow flags around him,” the executive said. “Not the dark red ones, but caution flags.

“I don’t think he is a star. He’s a very good major-league talent. But he disappears too often.”

He has absolutely disappeared this winter.

When he will re-emerge has become the most interesting question of all.


2. Mike Ilitch Does It Again

Justin Upton can be an impact bat in the middle of the order, and if Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera can stay healthy, the Tigers have a chance to recapture the division title from Kansas City in an AL Central that gets more intriguing each week.

Whether Upton does or doesn’t work out, though, say this: Detroit’s owner Mike Ilitch is the kind of owner every fan has to wish his or her team had. Year after year, Ilitch has laid out millions in pursuit of the one goal that continues to drive him, bringing a World Series title to Detroit for the first time since 1984.

From Pudge Rodriguez to Miguel Cabrera to Justin Verlander to Prince Fielder to Jordan Zimmermann (and beyond), Ilitch has thrown money at one star after another. In that regard, he’s reminiscent of the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who poured every ounce of energy he had, year after year, into attempting to bring New York a Yankees World Series title.

While teams in larger markets continue to do calisthenics to avoid going over the $189 million luxury-tax threshold (the Yankees, ironically, and the Angels, to name two), Ilitch thinks nothing of it.


3. Of Tanks and No Arms Race

As we edge closer to the glorious sunshine and pitchers and catchers reporting to camps in Arizona and Florida, some serious questions are on the horizon in the National League.

Mainly, spring training, that time of hope and optimism, isn’t going to bring what it once brought to several National League clubs. And how damaging might that be to the integrity of the game?

Friend Jayson Stark over at ESPN.com wrote a riveting piece on the subject last week, noting that at least four teams (Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves) and possibly as many as six (Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres) are shifting into, basically, non-compete mode while rebuilding.

It was bad enough when the Houston Astros stripped things down to the studs and foundation a few years ago, losing at least 106 games in each of three consecutive seasons (2011-13).

The Cubs caused some grumbling as well in the early years of the Theo Epstein regime, finishing fifth in the NL Central for five consecutive seasons.

Now, with both the Cubs and Astros roaring back in 2015 and boasting some of the game’s best young talent, enough other clubs appear to be following suit that baseball might wind up with an embarrassing situation sooner rather than later.

“I think it’s a problem for the sport,” an executive for an American League contender told Stark, speaking of the NL. “I think the whole system is screwed up, because I think it actually incentivizes not winning. And that’s a big issue going forward.”

At the very least, it is an issue baseball must closely watch. As things stand now, it’s good to be a member of the NL Central and NL East—because only three of the five clubs in each of those divisions really are trying to compete in 2016.

In the NL East, you’ve got the Mets, Marlins and Nationals on one side, while the Braves and Phillies are stripping things down.

In the NL Central, you’ve got the Cardinals, Cubs and Pirates with chances to win, while the Brewers and Reds will resemble Triple-A outfits.

Given that clubs face each other 19 times because of the unbalanced schedule, that’s a lot of extra wins the front three clubs in each of those divisions will pick up. Enough, probably, to guarantee that the two NL wild-card teams likely will come from the East and the Central, not the NL West.

Commissioner Rob Manfred told Stark that rebuilding is just part of the cyclical nature of the game.

“Obviously, you don’t want to have too many teams in a rebuilding cycle at one time in one league, and I accept that,” Manfred said. “But the fact of the matter is, when you have 30 teams, it’s not unusual that you have five or six in a rebuilding cycle. I think if you look back historically, that would not be a number that’s out of line.”

That the Astros and Cubs had so much success with their dramatic rebuilds is to each of their credits, of course.

It just becomes a problem if the rebuilding highways become gridlocked with copycats.


4. Where Have You Gone, Mariano Rivera?

Yankees GM Brian Cashman says newly acquired flamethrower Aroldis Chapman will head into spring training as the team’s closer, because that’s where he adds “max value.”

However they divvy up the work, there’s no question the Yankees should be awesome in the late innings with Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller aboard.

There’s also no question that Mariano Rivera is becoming smaller and smaller in that rear-view mirror. As statistics whiz Bill Chuck points out, Chapman could give the Yankees their fifth different saves leader in the past five seasons in 2016: Rafael Soriano (42) in 2012 (the year Rivera missed most of the season with a knee injury), Rivera (44) in 2013, David Robertson (39) in 2014 and Andrew Miller (36) in 2015.


5. The World Champs Get Better

Make no mistake: Ian Kennedy is not David Price or Zack Greinke. It’s not like the Kansas City Royals signed a guy who will become a favorite to win a Cy Young Award.

But in agreeing to terms with Kennedy on a five-year, $70 million deal, the Royals unquestionably took a step in the right direction after losing Johnny Cueto to free agency.

Kennedy is coming off a down season in San Diego but should be able to give Kansas City exactly what James Shields did a couple of years ago: a summer of 200 innings and a solid veteran rotation presence.

He surrendered a career-high 31 homers last season, which is saying something given that he pitched some of his early years in hitter-friendly Arizona. But from that perspective, Kansas City is a good landing spot: Kauffman Stadium was the most difficult park in the American League to homer in last summer, surrendering an average of 1.60 homers per game.

It’s also hard not to look at Kennedy’s splits last year and give him the benefit of the doubt that an Opening Day hamstring pull threw him off balance during the first half of 2015. Before the All-Star break, he went 4-9 with a 4.91 ERA and 20 homers allowed in 84.1 innings pitched in 16 starts. After the break, he went 5-6 with a 3.64 ERA and 11 homers allowed in 84 innings pitched.


6. Free-Agent Rankings

Here’s my weekly take as agents bluster, suitors cluster and bean counters muster the courage to write those checks as the winter (gulp) deepens…

1. Yoenis Cespedes: A guy needs to know where to schedule his tee times this summer.

2. Dexter Fowler: C’mon, Joe Maddon will even write a letter of recommendation.

3. Howie Kendrick: The last second baseman the Dodgers jettisoned went on to win the NL batting title. But Kendrick is no Dee Gordon.

4. Yovani Gallardo: The leftover bin of starting pitchers remains pretty well stocked.

5. Doug Fister: One year ago, he was slated to be part of one of the greatest rotations in recent memory. Cough, cough.


7. Pete Rose in the Hall

Yes, the news bulletin you saw Tuesday is true: Pete Rose is going to the Hall of Fame.

The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.

Not only that, the club will retire his No. 14 during the Reds’ Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, June 24-26.

Good for them, and good for MLB for allowing this to happen.

While it is true that Rose is banned from the Baseball Hall of Fame for being on the game’s suspended list, individual club Halls of Fame are a different, more localized version. They don’t necessarily have to play by the same rules as they do in Cooperstown.

Reds owner Bob Castellini said in a statement Tuesday that this will be “a defining moment in the 147-year history of this storied franchise. He is one of the greatest players to ever wear a Reds uniform and it will be an unforgettable experience watching him be honored as such.”

Incidentally, word of the honor did reach Cooperstown. And not everyone there is opposed to this, or even greater honors, for Rose:


8. The Mo-Man Reappears, Long Live the Mo-Man!

There is only one Mo-Man, the long-retired Mike Morgan, who pitched for 12 teams (then a record) between 1978 and 2002.

The fourth overall pick by Oakland in the 1978 draft, he went straight to the majors, never looked back and pretty much had a rubber arm the entire way through. I came across him in Minnesota when he was playing for the Twins and I was covering them. He had a very unique way of viewing the world and of speaking.

What I most remember is when he had a poor start. He’d meet the media afterward, shrug and simply say, “Bob Seger, man.” That was his code for one of Seger’s most well-known songs: “Turn the Page.” Yep, forget about a bad start, turn the page and get ’em next time.

There were dozens more just like that.

Now 56, Morgan has been gone for a while: When there was no interest in him following the 2002 season, he went home to Utah, hurt (not physically—his feelings were hurt) and went into a sort of self-exile.

He reappeared at the Diamondbacks’ fantasy camp last week.

“I can still throw seven days a week,” he told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. “I can still throw the hammer [curveball]. It’s not 12-to-6 anymore, it’s 12-to-3. Four-seamers, two-seamers, sliders.

“I still get guys asking me to throw the hammer so they can see it out of my hand. And I always tell them, ‘Just tell me where to meet you and I’ll come throw to you.'”


9. Farewell, Monte Irvin

One of the first African-Americans to play in the majors and a mentor to the great Willie Mays, Monte Irvin passed away last week in Houston at the age of 96. A Hall of Famer as both a player and a person, Irvin spent three years in the Army during World War II and, as Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week, “was a true leader during a transformational era for our game.”

And, he said this, and amen, amen, amen:


9a. Rock ‘n’ Roll Lyric of the Week

We’re barely halfway through January and already 2016 has been painful. Last week we lost David Bowie, this week Glenn Frey. Though he’s a little more known, you might say, for his great hits like “Tequila Sunrise” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” there was a time, believe it or not, when Frey wanted to become a baseball broadcaster. Not only does he do so for a day here with Vin Scully in 1985, he gives a tremendous home run call:

 You left us way too soon, Glenn, but thanks for the words and music.

“City girls seem to find out early

“How to open doors with just a smile”

— Eagles, “Lyin’ Eyes”


Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Scott on Twitter and talk baseball.

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Yovani Gallardo: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation Surrounding Free-Agent SP

Unrestricted free-agent starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo is continuing to garner some interest on the market this offseason. 

Continue for updates.

2 Teams Most Interested in Gallardo

Friday, Dec. 18

According to FoxSports.com’s Jon Morosi, the Baltimore Orioles and the Houston Astros are the “most aggressive suitors” for Gallardo’s services. 

The 29-year-old is preparing for his 10th campaign in the majors in 2016, after going 13-11 with a 3.42 ERA with the Texas Rangers last year, his only season with the team. He was traded to the Rangers from the Milwaukee Brewers for the final year of his five-year, $30.1 million deal he signed back in 2011, per Spotrac.com.

Gallardo has proven to be a consistent arm to have in a rotation, having started 30 or more games with 180.0 or more innings in each of his past seven years. He doesn’t necessarily have overpowering stuff, with a fastball that can hit 92 miles per hour.

He isn’t as much of a strikeout pitcher as he was earlier in his career. From 2009-2012, he recorded 200 or more strikeouts each season. Since then, he’s averaged just 137.

But it’s the movement he’s able to put on his pitches that makes him such a tough customer to figure out. His fastball has the ability to tail away from left-handed batters, while his secondary pitches can cross up the opposition. 

MLB took a look at just how well things can go when all of his pitches are working, even if he isn’t getting strikeouts:

For the two teams interested, this is a starter that could bolster their rotations.

The Astros, despite having five solid arms in their rotation at the moment, are looking for more, as owner Jim Crane told Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle:

We’d definitely like to bring in another good starter. Certainly, I’ve told Jeff (general manager Jeff Luhnow) since I’ve got here, being an old pitcher, there’s three things in baseball: pitching, pitching and pitching. You saw that in the playoffs again. Teams with the dominant pitching seemed to go a little bit farther, particularly the Mets, (who) had a great starting rotation. Kansas City had a back-end bullpen which was pretty much unhittable.

Gallardo would be a nice No. 3 in the Astros’ rotation, giving 22-year-old Lance McCullers time to mature as the team’s fourth starter. His signing would allow Houston to let Scott Kazmir go if other teams are offering bigger money in free agency.

Pitching is just as an important need for the Baltimore Orioles. Last season, no regular Orioles starter recorded more than 12 wins and only one of them had an ERA under 4.00. 

According to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles were not going for the top of the market pitchers like David Price and Zack Greinke, but it’s the second tier that is more their speed. The team has expressed interest in Gallardo as early as Dec. 7, per Encina. 

Gallardo could very well be a No. 1 starter in the Baltimore rotation, given the team has a prospective rotation of Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy, according to RotoChamp.com.

Bringing in Gallardo would add a consistent arm that could also eat up innings at the top of the rotation. It could also give a break to a bullpen that was ranked fifth in the league in ERA but pitched almost 520 innings last season. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Yovani Gallardo: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation Surrounding Free-Agent SP

Starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo is coming off a strong 2015 season with the Texas Rangers, and he’s generating plenty of interest on the open market as a result. 

Continue for updates. 

Diamondbacks Among Clubs Interested in Gallardo

Wednesday, Nov. 11

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported the news and mentioned Arizona is one of “many teams” eyeing up the free agent. 

The interest certainly makes sense. Arizona finished ninth in the National League in team ERA last season, per ESPN.com. Additionally, Diamondbacks pitchers mustered just 69 quality starts, which ranked 11th out of 15 NL clubs. 

After getting traded to the Rangers by the Milwaukee Brewers last offseason, Gallardo strung together an impressive campaign highlighted by a 13-11 record and career-best 3.42 ERA (minimum 20 starts). 

The 29-year-old also struck out 144 batters, which would have ranked second on the 2015 Diamondbacks behind only Rubby De La Rosa. Not surprisingly, Gallardo’s stock is surging after he posted a career-best 4.1 wins above replacement—a tally that trumped his previous best by 1.2, per Baseball-Reference.com

Arizona certainly has a need for a rock-solid arm like Gallardo in the middle of its rotation, so it will be fascinating to see how much the franchise is willing to spend in order to secure his talent. 

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Rangers vs. Blue Jays ALDS Game 1: Live Score and Instant Reaction

Two of the hottest lineups in baseball are slated for a showdown Thursday, as the Toronto Blue Jays host the Texas Rangers in Game 1 of the American League Division Series starting at 3:37 p.m. ET.

The Jays used a consistent attack and a successful trade deadline as fuel to skyrocket themselves to the top of the AL East for the past several months. Toronto accounted for a 48-23 record in the second half. Its offense averaged 5.5 runs per game and led the majors in home runs (232).

The Rangers spent much of the season trailing the Houston Astros in the AL West but also used a strong second half to steal the division in the season’s final weeks. Texas won 46 games in the second half and finished as the third-best offense in the league, averaging 4.6 runs a game.

Each team brought in players at the trade deadline who have had significant impacts. One of those players, David Price (18-5, 2.45 ERA), will toe the rubber for the Jays today. Pitching Game 1 in a playoff series is exactly why Toronto brought him in, and Price will be looking to end his streak of five consecutive postseason losses.

The Rangers will send Yovani Gallardo (13-11, 3.42 ERA) to the mound with the hope of stealing one from Canada’s favorite baseball team. He allowed no runs in 13.2 innings and picked up two wins against the Jays this year.

The Blue Jays won the season series over Texas 4-2, taking three of four in two of those series—one in Toronto and one in Texas. Can the Rangers figure out a way to quiet Toronto’s offense? Can the Jays shut down the Rangers at the plate in front of Toronto’s raucous home crowd? We’ll soon find out. 

Starting Lineups


Delino DeShields CF

Shin-Soo Choo RF

Adrian Beltre 3B

Prince Fielder DH

Mike Napoli 1B

Josh Hamilton LF

Elvis Andrus SS

Rougned Odor 2B

Robinson Chirinos C

Yovani Gallardo P



Ben Revere LF

Josh Donaldson 3B

Jose Bautista RF

Edwin Encarnacion DH

Troy Tulowitzki SS

Justin Smoak 1B

Russell Martin C

Ryan Goins 2B

Kevin Pillar CF

David Price P

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