Brewers trade pitcher Yovani Gallardo to Rangers
Yovani Gallardo is getting a chance to pitch at home.
The Milwaukee Brewers traded Gallardo and $4 million of his $14 million salary to the Texas Rangers for infielder Luis Sardinas and right-handers Corey Knebel and Marcos Diplan on Monday.
”It definitely means a lot. I grew up here, went to high school here,” said Gallardo, who lives in North Texas. ”I’m very excited for this opportunity and looking forward to it.”
While the deal gives the Rangers a needed proven starter in the middle of their rotation behind Yu Darvish and Derek Holland, it could also indicate the Brewers may try to pursue free-agent pitcher James Shields
Gallardo, who turns 29 next month, was 8-11 last year with a 3.51 ERA in 32 starts last season. He was 89-64 with a 3.69 ERA in an eight-year career with Milwaukee.
The right-hander’s contract specifies his 2015 salary increased from $13 million to $14 million when he was traded. Gallardo is eligible for free agency in November, though there seemingly is already interest on both sides from a longer stay in Texas even without such discussions so far.
”It’s something I expect we will revisit with him and his agent,” general manager Jon Daniels said.
Gallardo said ”of course” he would like to be pitch in Texas for more than one season, but that his focus now is getting ready for spring training.
Daniels said Gallardo was one of the pitchers the Rangers had targeted this offseason, and fills a specific need. Gallardo worked at least 180 innings in each of the last six seasons.
”The biggest thing we were lacking was innings in our rotation,” the GM said.
Milwaukee took Gallardo in the second round of the 2004 amateur draft out of Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth, less than 20 miles from the Rangers’ ballpark.
”Yovani has been a huge part of the Brewers organization and has left a mark as one of the best pitchers in franchise history,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said in a statement. ”He is a great competitor and professional who will be missed. At the same time, we have added three young and talented players to our organization.”
Gallardo’s departure presumably frees up a spot for young right-hander Jimmy Nelson to join Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Wily Peralta and Mike Fiers in the Brewers’ rotation.
Milwaukee went 82-80 last year after adding free-agent pitcher Matt Garza with a $50 million, four-year contract and burst to a 20-7 start that allowed the Brewers to open a 6 1/2-game NL Central lead and stay atop the division for five months. Milwaukee dropped out of first place on Sept. 1, lost 22 of its last 31 games and missed the playoffs.
Texas is coming off a last-place finish in the AL West. Plagued by injuries, the Rangers lost 95 games – their most since 1985 – and are hoping for a turnaround under new manager Jeff Banister, who as a coach on Pittsburgh’s staff was in the same division as Gallardo the past six years.
”He was a workhorse against us. We didn’t really barrel him up very good,” Banister said. ”When he’s on top of his game, the command was plus. … More than anything else, it was the tenacity by which he pitched and he loved to compete. He really wanted to show our hitters that he was in command anytime he faced them.”
AP Sports Writer Genaro C. Armas contributed to this report.