Yovani Gallardo Declines Qualifying Offer: What Does It Mean?

Early on Friday morning, as MLB General Managers were packing their things together for their check-outs, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports started the day with this little nugget, pertaining to your Texas Rangers.

Remember that the Qualifying Offer was for one-year (like it always is) and $15.8 million (the average of the top 125 salaries in Major League Baseball). What does this mean for both Yovani Gallardo and the Texas Rangers?

What does it mean for Yovani Gallardo?

For Gallardo, who will be going into his age 30 season, the declining of the Qualifying Offer means that he can now negotiate with all 30 teams for a contract. This includes the Texas Rangers. Is it possible that Gallardo really, truly, loves pitching at home (because he’s from Fort Worth), and returns to the Rangers on a discounted pact, whether for one year or multiple years? Possible? Yes. Probable? Nope.

Gallardo and his agent, Bobby Witt, have likely come to the conclusion that there are enough teams out there with interest in a reliable, right-handed, middle-to-back of the rotation pitcher that they can get a multi-year deal. Whether that’s for more than $15.8 million (unlikely) remains to be seen, but this move is likely more about length of contract than money.

For the season, Gallardo pitched to a 13-11 record, 3.42 ERA, with 121 strikeouts (a career low), a 1.78 K/BB ratio (a career low), and a 1.44 GO/AO ratio (a career high). That’s a pretty decent line but hardly worth almost $16 million. Where Gallardo earns his value is in his durability and reliability. The last time Gallardo didn’t make at least 30 starts was in 2008, which was the last time he was on the disabled list. He has a proven track record of being able to take the ball every 5th day, and for some clubs, that’s a hugely attractive factor.

The challenge Gallardo will face in the open market deals with the consequence for declining the Qualifying Offer. Any team that signs Yovani Gallardo loses it’s first round draft pick, unless that pick is in the protected top ten, in which case, it loses its second round pick. For teams trying to rebuild their farm systems after big trades, that can be fairly risky, especially in a comparatively solid 2016 draft class. Teams like that might rather turn to pitchers in that same tier that don’t have draft picks attached to them – someone like Doug Fister or Colby Lewis.

Generally, however, the consensus is that Gallardo will be able to grab a 4-5 year deal ranging in the $50-70 million range. Where could he end up? That’s a different article for a different time – and for now, it’s not the Rangers’ problem.

What does it mean for the Texas Rangers?

For the Rangers, Jon Daniels and company just wait and see where Gallardo ends up. Unless he ends up in the American League West (not an impossibility), they can wish him well in his future endeavors and look at his scouting file maybe once a year.

As far as the draft pick attached to Gallardo goes, keep in mind that the Rangers would NOT pick in the spot the club that signs him would have. The club that signs him would simply see their draft pick disappear. The Rangers would get a Compensatory Pick in between the first and second rounds of the 2016 Draft. For instance, the Arizona Diamondbacks have the 13th pick in the 2016 Draft. If they sign Gallardo, something that is a better than average possibility, the Rangers would NOT pick 13th. Instead, the 13th pick would go the way of that hour in Daylight Savings Time. The Rangers would still be slotted to pick 23rd and would get a pick in the Compensation Round, where all clubs who had Qualifying Offer players sign elsewhere would pick.

But let’s talk about that 23rd pick in the Draft. With a guaranteed draft pick if Gallardo signs elsewhere, could Jon Daniels be enticed to go after one of those free agents and sacrifice that 23rd pick? Personally, I don’t think that would end up being the case, but the fact that Daniels would still get a pick out of this Gallardo situation might bring him to pursue someone like Justin Upton, for instance. Sure, the pick wouldn’t be as high as 23, but at worst, JD would pick about ten slots lower. That’s not that much of a difference, especially given the Rangers’ track record of finding diamonds in the rough in later rounds. If you read Robert Aycock’s diatribe on why the Rangers should sign Zack Greinke, this situation of draft picks could sway you more towards that line of thinking.

All in all, what the Rangers choose to do following Gallardo’s full foray into Free Agency remains to be seen, but there’s definitely going to be a well-thought out process to be followed after the news of Friday morning.

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Matt Fisher
Matt Fisher is an Editor/Staff Writer for ShutdownInning. He is a baseball lifer, preferring to use the eye test and rely on the knowledge and analysis of baseball minds greater than his, while using relevant stats to encourage situational discussions. He is also co-host of The Most Valuable Podcast on the NextWave Radio Network, talking sports, entertainment, and sports entertainment.

While Matt's favorite team will always be his hometown Texas Rangers, he knows the ongoing story lines of every team in Major League Baseball. If you sit next to him at a game, be prepared to hear him try and do play-by-play. If you're famous and reading this, just know that he's not afraid to drop names.

Matt Fisher. ShutdownInning Editor/Staff Writer

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