Yovani Gallardo can become a baseball household name over the next five weeks, certainly more of one than he has been as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers’ rotation. Once considered a future ace, the 27-year-old right-hander is still a front-line-type starter when he is right and he's the best the Brewers have right now. Two things will make him an attractive commodity as the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline nears: 1. He again looks like the pitcher who was an All-Star in 2010 and finished seventh in the Cy Young Award voting in 2011. 2. He's affordable. He'll make $11.25 million next season, and he has a $13 million team option for 2015 with a $600,000 buyout. By the time the deadline rolls around, Gallardo will be owed about $2.6 million this season. The fact that he can be more than a two-month rental already has scouts flocking to his starts. His no-trade clause, which once covered all teams, has been reduced to 10 teams this season per his contract. “That Yovani is not a free agent like guys like (Zack) Greinke or Anibal Sanchez last year, he has more value than just two months of a rental,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said, “so the package from another team has to be something that will wow me.” The Brewers are 12 games below .500, 15 games out of first place in the NL Central and 12 1/2 out of a wild-card spot. Crazier things have happened, but the Brewers aren’t counting on coming back even though they made a run last season after dealing Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels. “This year we just aren’t healthy to expect something like that,” said Melvin, who normally is mum on his deadline plans but has taken a realistic approach this year. Just because the Brewers “will definitely not be buyers” at the deadline doesn’t necessarily mean they plan to make trades or rebuild. Assuming they don’t find a taker for third baseman Aramis Ramirez ($16 million next season, $15 million mutual option with a $4 million buyout for 2015) and they keep right-hander Kyle Lohse, their most consistent starter this season, the plan is to regroup and contend in 2014. If that is the case, there won’t be a complete teardown and Gallardo will still be seen as a rotation anchor. It's unlikely Melvin will hold a fire sale, but it is a possibility. First baseman/outfielder Corey Hart is a potential free agent, Ramirez and Lohse could be lost in trades—the Brewers negotiated hard over a no-trade clause with Lohse for this exact reason—and there is the lingering possibility that Ryan Braun will be suspended for much of next season. That would lead the Brewers to be non-contenders again in 2014 and could make them more likely to move Gallardo. After posting an ugly 5.25 ERA and just five quality stats through his first 13 outings this year, Gallardo has not allowed an earned run in his next three starts covering 21 innings. Then again, two of those starts came against the Miami Marlins and Houston Astros, and his next start will be against the Chicago Cubs. Still, the bounce-back is promising, especially his six shutout innings in Cincinnati vs. the Reds on June 15.
Gallardo popular, but will Brewers move him?
Sporting News | Jun 25