Spring Training for America's pastime is right around the corner, in fact some Pitchers and Catchers have already begun to report to their organizational facility. The arrival of Spring Training usually coincides with the completion of the "Free Agency Frenzy", but one name particularly remains unsigned, and that is pitcher formerly property of the Texas Rangers, Yovani Gallardo. With my luck, and I'm led to believe that he and the Baltimore Orioles are well immersed deep into negotiations so after I spend a hearty amount of time sputtering my thoughts he'll probably have already signed with the O's but that's okay because theirs a bigger injustice at hand here, and that is what on earth has Gallardo done to be considered a "secondary"piece? I classify him as a secondary piece only because players who remain unsigned into February aren't usually, and I stress the word usually as there are sometimes exceptions labelled as top tier commodities Is Gallardo the exception to this rule, or is he a victim of respective Major League Baseball General Managers overlooking his true worth and forgetting what he truly is, and that's a certifiable ace on most Major League teams. If you don't cosign the fact that Gallardo has this kind of potential then I'm forced to seriously question your baseball expertise but would appreciate if you took the time to follow my reasoning and maybe, just maybe can change your opinion on this Fort Worth native who will instantly transition the Orioles to a contender.
I don't know about you, but my first experience viewing Yovani Gallardo was a positive one. He came onto the scene with the lowly Milwaukee Brewers in 2007 and for that reason I can sympathize with those who don't or can't differentiate the success of the pitcher weighed against the dysfunction of the team that he plays on which aside from a C.C Sabathia second half splurge, have been heaped in dysfunction the last decade and a half. Once known as a strike-out machine, having reached over two hundred K's in four consecutive seasons, he's now developed the repertoire of pitching to contact, excelling at maximizing comfortable ground ball outs. After construing what I just wrote, you may be surmising that I'm contradicting my plead for more respect but au contraire as to me what this signals is a sign of maturity and knowing his body. Sure, strike outs are down evidenced by only tallying one hundred and twenty one in 2015 while suiting up for the Texas Rangers but adaptability in professional sports is paramount and because he's turned the big 3 0 earlier this winter he and the potential suitors know that he'll become more and more of a finesse pitcher and live on location. Like in real estate, pitching is all about location, location, location. General Managers should look no further than the 2015 post-season where we bore witness to Kansas City Royals starter Edison Volquez have a tremendous October and how you ask? He hit his spots, the Edison Volquez of 2009 and 2015 manufactured wins in two completely different ways but at the end of the day it doesn't matter how it gets done, if the pitcher has that intestinal fortitude and can win in a business where only winning matters, you stick with him. I maintain Gallardo and Volquez will enter 2016 with similar projections, so if Dayton Moore(Royals General Manager) constructed a world champion with pitchers like Edison on staff, it's perplexing why more general managers weren't lining up to secure the services of Yovani.
In society, we're all guilty of mimicking the feats of yesteryear, and the Yovani Gallardo of 2015, particularly late in 2015 onwards to the playoffs was virtually unhittable. I know this first hand as living in Canada we're flooded with Blue Jay baseball and were enthralled in their magical playoff run which paved way for the infamous bat flip seventh inning moment in game five of the ALDS against Gallardo's Rangers. Jays fans have Rangers manager Brian Bannister to thank for the ALCS advancement as he made the foolish decision, and I could've dedicated the entire entry to this, of starting lefty Cole Hamels in the fifth and deciding game. The fact that he's a lefty should've stapled Hamels to the bench due to the Jays lineup raking on southpaws and secondarily to that in game one of the series Gallardo stymied the Jays home run heavy order. For myself personally, that whole lead-up to the fifth game I was certain it was setting up for a Gallardo-Stroman duel but Bannister left me for a fool in his, to reference the always popular hindsight, incorrect decision. Channeling this back to Gallardo's current free agency status I'm left to wonder whether that season defining snub ruined any further relationship with the Rangers. He's from Texas, as his native Fort Worth situates right outside Dallas so conveniently re-upping in Arlington could've appeased family stability. Facts are facts though, multiple insiders who I trust and are privy to the negotiations have narrowed this down to a one horse race as because of this, I'm going to analyze the impact Gallardo will have on the Orioles.
The Baltimore Orioles relied heavily on their offensive escapades a year ago, enlisting in a game plan that conjured up a similar recipe to how my beloved Blue Jays cooked up their own storm, but lacked one key ingredient:pitching. Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez took unforeseen steps back. For Tillman, 13-6 and a 3.34 ERA in 2014 but complimented that successful campaign with a disastrous 11-11 mark, and trust me if it wasn't for the likes of Manny Machado and Chris Davis, we may start to drawing comparisons to the happy go lucky but ultimately unlucky Drew Hutchison with eleven wins being an impossibility. Much more will be needed out of Tillman especially with the off-season loss of Wei-Yen Chen who just like Lebron James has lifted his talents to South Beach. The acquisition of Gallardo provides the O's with a legitimate ace. Most pendants judging from the lack of reported love this off-season pertaining to the prospects of Yovani , will still have the pre-season polls negating the Orioles pitching prowess but I totally expect the ground ball seeking Texan to compile fifteen plus wins on what I believe will be a much improved club.
Looking for a fantasy sleeper? Looking for a Cy Young darkhorse? My support for Yovani may go overboard but trust me folks, join me in repeating "Gallardo we trust"