2016 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2016 Fantasy Baseball: Baltimore Orioles Sign Yovani Gallardo

The last of the big name pitchers went off the board when the Baltimore Orioles agreed to sign Yovani Gallardo to a three-year contract. Gallardo had been waiting because the Texas Rangers gave him a qualifying offer. Under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, the Orioles will have to surrender their second round pick to the Rangers because of the new agreement. The Rangers will also receive a sandwich pick as well.

Why the Orioles make this deal?

The qualifying offer is sure to be one of the hotly contested topics between the union and owners before the next CBA comes online after the 2017 season. The qualifying offer has effectively driven Gallardo’s value down to the point where the Orioles felt they could have afforded him. It is highly likely that three or four teams would have taken Gallardo very seriously if they didn’t have to give up their first round pick. The Orioles worked this to their advantage.

Most people don’t consider the Orioles to be a serious contender, but there is no reason why this should be the case. They did not lose any significant pieces this past season, and they are adding Gallardo to their rotation. Gallardo will likely slide between the third and fourth spots in the rotation and effectively knock Mike Wright out of the rotation.

A lot has been made of Gallardo’s diminishing strikeout rate (9.9 per nine innings in 2009 versus 5.9 per nine innings last season). It is as sure a sign as any that Gallardo is no longer a front line starter. That’s okay. The Orioles didn’t sign him to be one. They signed him to be a middle-of-the-rotation arm that can give them at least 180 innings a season. Below is the combination of strikeout rate, innings pitched, and fielding independent pitching since 2009.

  • 2009: 185.2, 3.97, 9.9
  • 2010: 185.0, 3.02, 9.7
  • 2011: 207.1, 3.59, 9.0
  • 2012: 204.0, 3.94, 9.0
  • 2013: 180.2, 3.89, 7.2
  • 2014: 192.1, 3.94, 6.8
  • 2015: 184.1, 4.00, 5.9

As you can see, the innings have remained fairly stable and the FIP is fairly stable (if not backsliding a tad) even while the strikeouts are going down. Gallardo is learning how to pitch without electric stuff. No one would claim he is great, but he is likely better than just about anyone else the Orioles could throw in there at the bottom of the rotation.

What this move means for you

Feel free to check out my starting pitching projections for the American League. He ranked 25th among American League starters in that projection. That would make him a solid fifth starter in most standard 12-man mixed leagues. He has an outside chance of going undrafted in some of those standard leagues because those leagues focus on the basic statistics. He is not likely to be a big winner for you, and he won’t blow you away with a ton of strikeouts.

However, he is moving to a slightly better fielding team next year (Baltimore had a .691 DER as compared to the Rangers .687 DER), and Camden Yards is a slightly better stadium for pitchers than where the Rangers play. It all adds up to Gallardo being a decent enough late round selection to stash at the end of your pitching staff.

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