Recent MLB trade rumors have Texas starter Yovani Gallardo going to the Los Angeles Dodgers—and fast—according to The Sporting News writer Joe Rodgers. The reason the Dodgers are said to be in on Gallardo is that he is a front line pitcher that will cost less than Johnny Cueto or David Price.
However, I wonder if KC Royals Dayton Moore should get in on the action.
The Kansas City Royals have a definite need for a front-line starter, and Yovani Gallardo meets that criterion with a 2.91 ERA in 137.1 innings in 20 starts for the Rangers this season. The 29-year-old Gallardo is also a rental in the last-year of his contract, and he’s familiar to Ned Yost since he was Gallardo’s manager his first two seasons in the league.
Gallardo appeals to the Dodgers because they don’t want to give up prime prospects Kyle Seager and Julio Arias. He should hold the same appeal for the KC Royals, who don’t want to give up Raul Aldaberto Mondesi for a short-term rental. Further the front offices of the Kansas City Royals and Rangers are presumably familiar with each other, since the two clubs share a spring training facility in Surprise, Arizona.
To me, Yovani Gallardo is a better candidate for the KC Royals than either Price or Cueto given that his cost is much less but his results (this season) are comparable. Though, the only caveat with Gallardo is that his Fielding Independant Pitching (FIP) is a much higher 3.69 due to Gallardo’s relatively-low strike out rate (6.1 K/9). And, his infield fly ball rate is only 12%, which is lower than the major-league average of 13%.
Thus, it seems that Yovani Gallardo depends on his defense by inducing ground balls (50.8 according to Fangraphs.com), Of course, this necessity should not deter the Kansas City Royals who have the best defense in MLB. To the extent that Gallardo gets helped by defense should only make him MORE effective in Kansas City.
However, the strong rumors around the Dodgers and Rangers suggest that the reason why we’re hearing them might be that the teams have already filed preliminary paperwork with the league office. If that’s the case, then the KC Royals are already too late to join the party.
But, if the rumors are coming from the Rangers because they are looking to attract bidders for Gallardo—then Dayton Moore needs to get in on the action. The KC Royals have a definite need for rotation help after losing Jason Vargas to Tommy John surgery, and Chris Young seeming to cool off after a hot start upon joining the rotation in May.