Brewers trade RHP Gallardo to Rangers

In 214 career appearances (211 starts), Yovani Gallardo is 89-64 with a 3.69 ERA.

Charles LeClaire/Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The Milwaukee Brewers have traded right-hander Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers, the team officially announced Monday.

Milwaukee will receive shortstop Luis Sardinas, right-hander Corey Knebel and right-hander Marcos Diplan from Texas, while the Brewers will pay $4 million of Gallardo’s 2015 salary.

Milwaukee exercised its $13 million team option on Gallardo on Oct. 30, which would have brought the 28-year-old back for his ninth year with the Brewers. According to Morosi, Gallardo’s contract included a trade kicker that bumps his salary to $14 million.

"Yovani has been a huge part of the Brewers organization and has left a mark as one of the best pitchers in franchise history," said general manager Doug Melvin 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. Knebel and Sardinas have a chance to be on our major-league club in 2015 and Diplan is one of the top arms to come out of the Dominican Republic over the last couple of years."

Ranked as Texas’ No. 7 overall prospect, Sardinas hit .261 with six doubles and eight RBI in 43 games with the Rangers in 2014. The 21-year-old hit .290 with a home run and 28 RBI with Triple-A Round Rock, committing nine errors in 266 chances at shortstop.

Sardinas signed with the Rangers as an amateur free agent in 2009. MLB.com ranked the Venezuelan as the No. 76 overall prospect in baseball prior to the 2014 season.

Like Sardinas, Knebel made his big-league debut in 2014. The 23-year-old posted a 6.23 ERA over eight relief appearances for the Detroit Tigers before he was dealt to Texas in the Joakim Soria trade.

Knebel spent most of 2014 between Double-A and Triple-A, going 5-1 with a 2.18 ERA in 34 appearances out of the bullpen.

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A first-round pick in 2013 out of the University of Texas, Knebel sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow last August and missed the remainder of the season.

Knebel’s fastball averaged at 94.3 mph in the big leagues last season, according to fangraphs.com. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound right-hander also throws a curveball and a changeup.

While Sardinas and Knebel seem ready to help the Brewers this season, Diplan is a ways away from contributing at the big-league level. The 18-year-old went 7-2 with a 1.54 ERA in 13 starts for the Rangers entry in the Dominican Summer League in 2014.

To clear room on the 40-man roster for Sardinas and Knebel, the Brewers designated first baseman Hunter Morris for assignment. Once considered the heir apparent at first base, Morris has struggled with consistency at the Triple-A level. The 26-year-old hit .279 with 11 home runs and 42 RBI for Nashville last season.

Drafted in the second round of the 2004 first-year player draft, Gallardo made his big-league debut with the Brewers in 2007. He suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee early in the 2008 season but returned to start Milwaukee’s first postseason game in 26 years, a 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 1 of the NLDS.

Gallardo became a mainstay in the Brewers’ rotation in 2009 and has made at least 30 starts in each of the past six seasons. In 214 career appearances (211 starts), Gallardo is 89-64 with a 3.69 ERA. He passed Teddy Higuera and Ben Sheets during the 2014 season to become Milwaukee’s all-time strikeouts leader at 1,226.

The trade of Gallardo could open up a rotation spot for young right-hander Jimmy Nelson, or the Brewers may opt to pursue a starting pitcher via free agency or a trade.

James Shields could be an option on the free-agent market, while Wisconsin native Jordan Zimmermann might become available for a trade if the Nationals finalize a reported deal with Max Scherzer.

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