Could the Houston Astros add some beard to the rotation?
The Houston Astros offseason appears to be quiet at the moment, but it probably is not the case. After acquiring Ken Giles during the Winter Meetings for a package of five pitchers and signing Tony Sipp to a three-year $18 million dollar contract, little else has been done. It appears that Jeff Luhnow is like a vulture, circling the agents for two free agents to try to get them to come to Houston. Which one will Luhnow swoop down and get, the one he can get for the least money?
The name Scott Kazmir has come up a few times with the two sides having a mutual interest in a reunion. We wrote about this here. There has also been some interest between Mike Leake and the Astros, as we wrote here. However, no matter how much Astros’ fans say no, one name keeps getting linked to the Astros.
The name is Yovani Gallardo, who pitched for the Texas Rangers last season. Gallardo has been an Astro killer of the years with tons of success against them. Over his Career, Gallardo has a 15-4 record against the Astros with a 3.11 ERA and averages 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings. While most of this damage was done in his earlier seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, the Astros could get this nemesis off the market to not have to face him anymore. While this is not a deciding factor, it could have some effect on it.
According to Jon Morosi via Twitter, “the Astros and Orioles remain the most aggressive suitors for Yovani Galardo, sources say.” Earlier in the month, Evan Drellich said that there was interest from both sides in reaching a deal for the native pitcher from Mexico. With Houston’s large Hispanic population, bringing a player like Gallardo could help bring more fans the ballpark.
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Gallardo is a ground ball pitcher with a 49.3% ground ball rate, not quite as good as Houston’s ace Dallas Keuchel. However, having the Astros’ infield defense behind Gallardo could help him be more successful than that stat. His fastball (90.4 MPH) has lost some zip from his earlier days when he averaged 92 MPH according to Fangraphs. He is throwing his slider harder and his curveball slower, which could make the fastball seem faster.
Gallardo is still young, he is 29-years-old entering his tenth year in his professional career, would he be worth a four-year deal? How about this, would you give up your son who is to be born next season to get him? According to Rotoworld, Gallardo is looking for a $60 million dollar, four-year deal to sign the right-hander who would probably be the fourth or fifth guy in the Astros rotation. Plus, the Astros would forfeit their first-round pick in 2016 MLB Draft.
The Rangers will receive a first-round compensation pick from the Astros if Gallardo does sign in Houston. The Orioles are probably more desperate for starting pitchers as Gallardo might be the ace of that staff, but he will be a back of the rotation guy for Astros. According to Morosi, the Orioles have not offered Gallardo a contract yet.
With recent trades, the Astros have shown a willingness to trade future talent for players that will help the team right now. Prospects are just prospects until they pan out, but would Luhnow give up a first-round pick, we will find out soon. I wouldn’t mind him as the fifth starter of a great Astros rotation, but hate giving a pick to the Rangers. Until then, continue follow the stove getting hotter at CTH.
**Stats from Baseball-Reference**