Results tagged ‘ Yovani Gallardo ’

Brewers Reportedly Exercise Contract Option

Gallardo esta ganador!!! (Brewers 5, Giants 4)

According to Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com, the Milwaukee Brewers exercised their 2015 contract option on starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo.

The option, worth $13 million, had a buyout of a mere $600 thousand, but it was universally agreed that the Brewers would not be able to find similar production on the free agent market for that kind of cost.

Gallardo’s strikeout numbers have dropped the last couple of years, but he’s remained a relatively consistent performer by many other metrics including FIP, WHIP, innings pitched, home run rate, and more. The senior member of Milwaukee’s rotation also posted the best full-season ERA of his career at 3.51, over half a run lower than 2013. Gallardo also posted his lowest BB/9 (2.5) at the MLB level.

The Brewers now appear to have four of their five rotation spots secured for 2015 in Gallardo, Matt Garza, Kyle Lohse, and Wily Peralta. Jimmy Nelson and Mike Fiers would seem to be in line to compete for the fifth job and almost certainly other options will be considered come camp. But if everyone stays healthy, four jobs appear set.

There is also the matter of the holes on the team, most notably at first base where both Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay are free agents. Overbay, who said on MLB Network radio that he’s leaning toward retirement, isn’t likely to return. Neither, it would seem, is Mark Reynolds who played quality defense but was either hitting home runs in bunches or hitting nothing at all. If the Brewers decided that there is value in moving an affordable asset to shore up a bigger hole, it’s conceivable that the Brewers could install Fiers and Nelson in their rotation or return to Marco Estrada who is arbitration eligible.

The point is that by picking up Gallardo’s contract option, the Brewers will be picking up other options as well, metaphorically speaking.

Why I’m Rooting For the American League

Let’s get this out of the way at the top. Thank you, San Francisco Giants! Thank you, NLCS MVP Madison Bumgarner. Thank you, Hunter Pence. Thank you, Santiago Casilla. Thank you, Pablo Sandoval. Thank you, Yusmeiro Petit. Thank you (and congrats), Tim Hudson. Thank you even to Buster Posey.

Thank you, Michael Morse for tying that one game.

Thank you, Travis Ishikawa for walking the birds off the field.

I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today without the efforts and success of the San Francisco Giants. You can drop the #EvenYear hashtag on social media. You can thank a blossomed ace in Bumgarner. You can shower praise on Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff. It’s all deserved. It’s all warranted. “THE GIANTS (WON) THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS (WON) THE PENNANT!”

And as happy as I am today that the senior circuit representative in this year’s Fall Classic plays its home games outside the state of Missouri, my desire for Giant victories ended when that ball left Ishikawa’s bat.

So why am I rooting against them starting tonight? I like the Giants just fine. I like most of their players. Only Angel Pagan really gets my dander up, and he’ll miss this series with injury anyway. So this isn’t about the Giants.

As far as leagues go, I absolutely prefer the National League game to that of its younger brother. The Designated Hitter should be done away with (though I realize it never will be). The strategy and timing of the NL game makes for a beautiful, and sometimes sickening, dance where decisions feel like they loom larger. You can’t always just pitch a guy until he’s done. Maybe you have to lift a pitcher early because of a key offensive spot. Maybe you try to stretch a guy farther because his spot is due up next half inning. Et cetera. There is so much more that goes into it. It’s more interesting and more fun, in my ever so humble opinion.

I’m a stump for the NL way of life. My team plays in the National League, for what that’s worth.

So, again, I ask: Why am I rooting against the Giants?

Well, to be fair it’s about rooting for Kansas City more than it is about rooting against San Francisco.

Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Norichika Aoki. All former Brewers. All good guys who I enjoy watching succeed. But pulling for the Royals is deeper than just that connection. Doug Henry and Dale Sveum. Both former Brewers. Both members of KC’s coaching staff. I like that, and personally like Sveum as a coach, but certainly wouldn’t use that as a reason to cheer for one team over another. Ned? Not even a little bit.

So instead of continuing to tell you why I’m not rooting for them, even though they are fine reasons should you choose to use them, here’s why I am.

I look at the 2014 Kansas City Royals and I see the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers.

It’s not a perfect 1:1 on the field, of course, but the similarities even at that micro level are interesting. It’s more about how they go about their business on the field, the lights out bullpen, trading away young and controllable talent for a shot at the brass ring, the payoff of a long-term plan. You can take it one step farther and compare to 2008 in Milwaukee where the Brewers faltered down the stretch while trying to hold off other teams for the Wild Card. In 2008 there was only the one Wild Card spot available, but the Brewers held off the Mets to win it by just one game. In 2014, Kansas City got the home game by just one game over Oakland (who held off Seattle by just one game).

Kansas City rode years of awfulness to amass a bunch of young talent in their system. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon (drafted the same year as, and ahead of, Ryan Braun, by the way), Wil Myers, the list goes on. In fact, you could almost mark the 2005 draft which got the Brewers the final “homegrown” piece to their playoff runs in Braun as the start of the Royals turnaround. In that way, they’ve been a few years behind the Brewers’ blueprint. Get a bunch of young, talented guys in the system with a goal to hit the Majors at roughly the same time, supplement with free agents, and when the moment is right, make a big trade (or two) at the big league level by sending out minor leaguers to go for it.

Let’s break that down, in case you aren’t agreeing with me.

Milwaukee: Drafted Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, J.J. Hardy, Yovani Gallardo, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun. Traded away Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley (and more)) for CC Sabathia in 2008. Traded away Cain, Escobar, Jake Odorizzi (and more) for Zack Greinke in 2011. Traded Brett Lawrie for Shaun Marcum in 2011. Supplemented with veterans: 2011 -Mark Kotsay, Craig Counsell, Jerry Hairston, Takashi Saito. 2008 – Gabe Kapler, Mike Cameron, Jason Kendall, Ray Durham, (ironically) Counsell.

Kansas City: Drafted Gordon, Hosmer, Moustakas, Billy Butler, Greg Holland. They scouted international amateurs like Salvador Perez, Kelvin Herrera, Yordano Ventura. Traded away Zack Greinke to acquire several young pieces. Flipped Odorizzi with Wil Myers to acquire James Shields and Wade Davis. Supplemented with veterans like Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, Josh Willingham, and Jason Frasor.

I think I’ve made my point.

Their offensive games differ, to be sure, as the Brewers hit home runs at a great pace in 2011 and the Royals are more about speed and getting hits that raise the ol’ BABIP. But the rotations were similarly solid from top to bottom, but the real crux of what sent me down this comparison exercise are the late inning relievers.

2011 Brewers:

  • Closer: John Axford (1.95 ERA / 2.41 FIP / 46 saves / 1.140 WHIP / 10.5 K/9)
  • Setup man: Francisco Rodriguez (1.86 ERA / 2.23 FIP / 1.138 WHIP / 10.2 K/9)
  • “7th inning guy”: LaTroy Hawkins / Takashi Saito (Combined: 2.28 ERA / 1.200 WHIP / 6.1 K/9)
    • (the Brewers used two veterans so as to keep them fresh)

2014 Royals:

  • Closer: Greg Holland (1.44 ERA / 1.83 FIP / 46 saves / 0.914 WHIP / 13.0 K/9)
  • Setup man: Wade Davis (1.00 ERA / 1.19 FIP / 0.847 WHIP / 13.6 K/9)
  • “7th inning guy”: Kelvin Herrera (1.41 ERA / 2.69 FIP / 1.143 WHIP / 7.6 K/9)

Six inning games are easier to win than nine inning games. Both of these teams had/have that game-shortening bullpen that general managers are yearning to cobble together each and every off-season.

I won’t lie to you though. The former Brewers being on the Royals certainly helps me root for them. In fact, it led to a series of tweets (@BrewerNation) with commentary how the team with the most former Brewers on it was winning every series (and even every game for a while) in the 2014 Postseason.

Market size, payroll relative to MLB’s elite, a fan base desperate for a winner after more than 25 years of missing the playoffs, that their last pennant was won in the 1980’s — these are all comparisons between the two franchises that help me see them in such a similar light.

But when it comes down to it, when all the dust has settled, at the end of the day, when all the clichés have been dropped…

I’m rooting for the 2014 Kansas City Royals because I see the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers and what might have been.

The comparisons can stop there, though, because this Kansas City team won the two games which that Milwaukee team didn’t. The Royals won their pennant and now have a chance to win another World Series, while the Brewers still seek their first championship.

But if these Royals can get the job done, it offers renewed hope that my team can one day get back and accomplish the same.

And that’s worth rooting for more than anything.

Brewers Wall of Honor Unveiled Today

The Milwaukee Brewers will formally unveil the “Brewers Wall of Honor” at Miller Park today.  The Wall of Honor will commemorate Milwaukee Brewers players that meet a set criteria based on service to the club. A total of 36 former Brewers players will attend today’s ceremony, marking the largest single gathering of Brewers alumni in team history, surpassing the 31 players who came in for the final game at County Stadium in 2000.

A private ceremony for inductees, their families and special guests will take place at 4 p.m. and the wall will be available for viewing to the general public beginning at 6:35 p.m. A pregame ceremony honoring the inductees will take place on the field prior to the game.

The Wall of Honor will be a permanent display outside of Miller Park on a wall on the North side of the ballpark.  Players on the Wall of Honor will each have a plaque with their photo and a brief synopsis of their playing career.  The plaques are designed by Matthews International, designers of the plaques for the National Baseball Hall of Fame as well as the plaques on the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor at Miller Park.

 Players who meet any of the following criteria while wearing a Brewers uniform will be inducted into the Wall of Honor:

  • 2,000 or more plate appearances
  • 1,000 or more innings pitched
  • 250 appearances as a pitcher
  • Winner of a major award (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, or Fireman of the Year)
  • Manager of a pennant-winning team
  • Individuals recognized with a statue on the Miller Park Plaza
  • Members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who have played for the Brewers

Currently, there are 58 persons who meet the above criteria and will be recognized on the Brewers Wall during the 2014 season.  In addition to the 58 members of the inaugural class, there are seven active players in Major League Baseball that meet the criteria.  Upon retirement, players who meet the criteria will be added to the Wall of Honor.

A total of 38 honorees are scheduled to attend the event six honorees will be represented by family members. The complete list of players who will grace the Brewers Wall of Honor at the unveiling ceremony today is as follows (attendees subject to change, those who will be present for the event are in BOLD, those who will be represented by a family member at the event are in ITALICS and those not able to attend the event are in PLAIN text):

Hank Aaron
Jerry Augustine
Sal Bando
Chris Bosio
Johnny Briggs
Jeromy Burnitz
Mike Caldwell
Bill Castro
Jeff Cirillo
Jim Colborn
Cecil Cooper
Craig Counsell
Chuck Crim
Rob Deer
Cal Eldred
Mike Fetters
Rollie Fingers
Jim Gantner
Moose Haas
Bill Hall
Darryl Hamilton
Teddy Higuera
John Jaha
Geoff Jenkins
Harvey Kuenn
Sixto Lezcano
Pat Listach
Mark Loretta
Davey May
Bob McClure
Paul Molitor
Don Money
Charlie Moore
Jaime Navarro
Dave Nilsson
Ben Oglivie
Dan Plesac
Darrell Porter
Ken Sanders
George Scott
Kevin Seitzer
Allan H. “Bud” Selig
Richie Sexson
Ben Sheets
Ted Simmons
Jim Slaton
B.J. Surhoff
Don Sutton
Gorman Thomas
Bill Travers
Bob Uecker
Jose Valentin
Greg Vaughn
Fernando Viña
Pete Vuckovich
Bill Wegman
Bob Wickman
Robin Yount

Note: John Axford, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks are the seven active players that, as of today, qualify for induction into the Wall of Honor following their retirement.  Active players closing in on the thresholds include Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez.

Breaking News: Jungmann Promoted, Nelson Scratched, Gallardo To Miss Start?

JimmyNelson

There’s been some “confluence of events” news breaking on Twitter over the past few minutes.

First:

That’s big news in and of itself for the former 12th overall pick. But then it was coupled with more…

Second:

And given what we know about Yovani Gallardo’s ankle and the likelihood that he’ll miss (at least) one start — his next is scheduled for Sunday in Miami — it sure makes sense that Jungmann will be starting for Nelson tonight for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds so that Nelson can make his season debut for the Brewers on Sunday.

Nelson has dominated Triple-A hitters this season, to the tune of a 5-1 record, 1.71 ERA in 58.0 IP, 58 K, and a 57.4% ground ball rate. He’s allowed just 17 walks and 37 hits which gives him a 0.97 WHIP. And while his BABIP against is .245, that’s supported by a 12.8% line drive rate, a 2.41 FIP and a 2.94 SIERA.

This could be just a single spot start, but also a good look at a key piece of the Milwaukee Brewers future rotation.

The only question surrounding the situation is who goes out to bring Nelson up. We’ll find that out either after the game tomorrow or on Sunday morning.

Injury and Rehab Updates – Gallardo, Henderson, Gorzelanny, Ramirez

Quick updates to make sure that you’re up to speed on where some players are at.

Gallardo Sprains Ankle, Next Start in Doubt

Gallardo esta ganador!!! (Brewers 5, Giants 4)

Yovani Gallardo sprained his left ankle yesterday in the 4th inning of a game he would eventually take the loss in against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday evening. (Vine video: http://vine.co/v/MHtBltPtL5D )

After the game, manager Ron Roenicke suggested that the team veteran might not make his next start and would almost certainly have to push his bullpen session back a day at the very least. Gallardo tried to argue his way into staying in the game but Roenicke (and the team’s head Athletic Trainer Dan Wright) made the correct call to get Gallardo out of the game right away. After all, as Roenicke pointed out during postgame, you don’t want a cascade injury to his arm because he’s altering his mechanics to compensate for the pain.

X-rays were negative for a fracture though, so even if Gallardo misses one start, it could be a circumstance where the Brewers avoid having to place him on the Disabled List.

Henderson Set to Begin Rehab Assignment

hendersoninjured

It was reported (and later officially announced) that relief pitcher Jim Henderson would begin a rehab assignment with the Class-AA Huntsville Stars. The Brewers expect Henderson to make at least three appearances in the minor leagues before determining whether he’s ready to be activated.

Henderson was originally placed on the 15-day DL with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. In his last appearance (May 1 at Cincinnati), Henderson had a noticable lack of control and a telltale drop in velocity. That led to his getting knocked around badly (0.2 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 ER, 1 HR) resulting in a season ERA spike from 3.38 to 7.15. He was disabled quickly after the game and it was revealed early on that they wouldn’t rush the big right-hander back before he was 100% healthy.

Gorzelanny Advancing

Gorzelanny

The reason that Henderson is beginning his rehab assignment with Huntsville is because Tom Gorzelanny will be continuing his with the Class-AAA Nashville Sounds and GM Doug Melvin didn’t want them on the same roster. That’s likely to ensure that they both get into the games that they need.

In two appearances with the Class-A Advanced Brevard County Manatees, Gorzelanny totaled 4.0 innings pitched while allowing two hits and a walk. He struck out one of the 14 batters he faced. The numbers really don’t mean a ton either way because he’s still simply ramping up like he’s pitching in spring training, but good numbers are certainly better than poor ones. That he was able to pitching two innings in each outing is also an encouraging sign for Gorzelanny as he is rehabbing from off-season shoulder surgery.

Gorzelanny’s rehab assignment began May 14 and at the time we were told that the Brewers expected it to last the maximum 30 days. That puts Gorzelanny on schedule to possibly to return to the 25-man roster in time for a weekend series against the Reds in mid-June at Miller Park.

Ramirez Ready to Run?

AramisRamirezDefense

When Aramis Ramirez (15-Day DL, hamstring strain) first was injured, he said he heard a pop and there was talk that this could be quite a bit longer than the minimum 15 day stay on the disabled list. Then while in Chicago for a chilly weekend series with the Cubs, the Brewers began saying that Ramirez, who had never had a hamstring injury to that point in his career, was pain-free walking and would likely attempt light running once the team got to Atlanta and were in warmer temperatures.

I haven’t seen any reports on whether he did or how it went if he did, but it still seems that returning on Memorial Day against the Baltimore Orioles is unlikely to occur. But stranger things have happened.

2014 Milwaukee Brewers 25-Man Roster Projection

Milwaukee Brewers

We’re on the precipice of Opening Day, but there are still some decisions awaiting the front office staff of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Most pressing, if not most important, is how they will construct the 25-man roster to begin the 2014 regular season. In this, they’ve got some options.

Let’s assume a couple of things off the top here. First, a standard 13 hitter, 12 pitcher roster split. Second, that we’re all aware that things will change throughout the season and plenty of the players who don’t make the Opening Day roster will don a Brewers uniform at some point in 2014.

I’ll lay out the different roster groupings and then explain what went into my decisions thereafter. Cool?

With that, to the list!

Starting Pitchers (5)

  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Marco Estrada
  • Matt Garza
  • Wily Peralta

I did my best educated guess at the order here too. It was announced that Gallardo has Opening Day honors and that Lohse will follow in Game 2. It was also hinted that Garza could pitch the opener in Boston, but that isn’t for sure yet…at least not publicly. Couple that with how well Estrada has pitched and he’s the superior choice against Atlanta in Game 3 than is Peralta.

The wrinkle here is that the Brewers have the opportunity to start the season with four starters because of the off-days scheduled. They don’t need a fifth starting pitcher until mid-April. If they do that, Peralta would start with Nashville to stay on rotation.

Relief Pitchers (7)

(with one more starting on DL)

  • Jim Henderson
  • Francisco Rodriguez
  • Will Smith*
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Wei-Chung Wang*
  • Rob Wooten
  • Alfredo Figaro (Alternative: Tyler Thornburg)
  • Tom Gorzelanny* (DL)

Henderson is the incumbent closer. Rodriguez was brought in on a MLB deal and has the longest track record out of any of the options. Smith has been great this spring after being acquired in trade. Kintzler was very good last year and has a spot locked up. Wang makes it in part because of how well he’s thrown but also because of the Rule V circumstances. Wooten pitched well enough in his time last year that he gets one of my “open” jobs. He’s certainly in a fungible position, though, as he’s got minor league options remaining.

For the final active spot, I’m going with Alfredo Figaro. I know that Tyler Thornburg is under consideration for that job, but I think that they’ll realize that he’s more valuable staying stretched out at Nashville in order to cover the inevitable first injury to the starting rotation than he is in pitching at best every other day in Milwaukee as the long man. Figaro filled the long relief role admirably last year as his stuff played up out of the bullpen.

Wooten, Figaro, and Thornburg all have at least one minor league option remaining so there’s no real consideration of roster depth when making any decisions concering the three. And I think we’ll be seeing all of them pitch at Miller Park in 2014 at one point or another.

As for non-roster invitee Zach Duke, I think that the Brewers have liked what they’ve seen but with Wang making good (so far), there really isn’t room for Duke to begin the season. The veteran lefty is on a minor-league deal, so most likely he’ll simply be assigned to Nashville to start.

Catchers (2)

  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Martin Maldonado

They’re the only two on the 40-man and that’s because they’re the two best in the organization. Nothing more needs to be said here.

Infielders (7)

  • Mark Reynolds
  • Rickie Weeks
  • Jean Segura
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Juan Francisco** (Alternative: Lyle Overbay)
  • Scooter Gennett**
  • Jeff Bianchi (Alternative: Elian Herrera)

Reynolds was signed to a minor-league deal for roster considerations at the time. He’s got a job. Weeks is the longest-tenured player in the organization right now and isn’t moveable (yet). Segura and Ramirez are obvious inclusions. Gennett comes along if they go with two second basemen, which has been the hottest talk of late.

Despite all the talk to the contrary lately, I still think that if they must choose between them, Francisco’s potential, relative youth, power, and increased patience this spring outweight Overbay’s veteran savvy, locker room presence, and far superior defense. That said, I can absolutely see a scenario in which they trade Francisco for an asset and keep Overbay. Maybe I’m projecting Francisco simply out of hope.

The other hotly contested job has been the utility infielder role. Jeff Bianchi filled the role last year with middling success. The biggest challenger to Bianchi’s incumbency has been the 40-man rostered Elian Herrera, who was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers over the winter. They’ve both hit, they both have defensive versatility. The differences that matter: Bianchi is a better defender at shortstop. Herrera is a much more natural outfielder (which is big when you’ve only got four rostered). Herrera is a switch hitter. Bianchi is out of options; Herrera has one remaining. It is that last point that I think will be the deciding factor. Herrera will start at Nashville and would absolutley be the first man called upon should an injury befall any infielder on the big league roster.

For the record: Should they decide that they can forego two second basemen to start the year to even the roster out a bit a more, I think Herrera would make the club over a fifth true outfielder.

Outfielders (4)

  • Khris Davis
  • Carlos Gomez
  • Ryan Braun
  • Logan Schafer**

Another easy prediction. Schafer could see some time starting in left field, but as the only man on the projected roster that can backup centerfield, he’ll likely be providing coverage from the bench more often than not.

* - Throws left-handed
** - Bats left-handed
---

So there you have it.

I welcome feedback and want to hear your opinions. Do you agree? Disagree? Think I’m overlooking an important detail or better player? Look down there…a “Comments” section.

Legends of the Field Giveaway Number 1

LOTF

I tweeted this a couple of days ago…

And here are the details and instructions on how to participate (and possibly win!).

  1. Be following me (like you probably already do) on Twitter: @BrewerNation
  2. Be following Legends of the Field (like you should be) on Twitter: @lotfautographs

If you already follow both of us, you’re already entered! Otherwise, accomplish both of those goals by 11:59pm CST on Friday, March 7, 2014 and you’re entered to win. It really is that simple. You’ll be entered to win one of four signed 8×10 photos.

However, what you can also do though is tweet both me and Legends of the Field if you’d like to be considered specifically for one photo over another.

So what are the photos, you ask? Allow me to offer Exhibits A, B, C, D. (I digitally added “smudges” to the computer image so as to discourage downloads/printing. Believe me that the actual photos are beautiful and the signatures are crisp!) If you choose to enter yourself in the drawing for a specific photo, just tweet both of us the letter of the photo you’d like to be entered to win.

We (the Legends of the Field manager and I) will choose the four random winners on Saturday, March 8, 2014 and will announce them publicly here on the blog after we contact you via Twitter direct message. (You must be 18 to win, but if you get selected when we contact you for details on how to ship you your photo, we can deal with a parent or legal guardian.)

brewers_4x_8x10_legends_of_the_field_altered

A: Jean Segura (white)
B: Scooter Gennett
C: Yovani Gallardo
D: Jean Segura (gold)

I realize that anyone can see this post, including in my Facebook and Google+ communities as well as the general internet. This is a “Twitter Only” contest to kick things off. There will be other community-specific contests down the road, but if you want in this time and you don’t have a Twitter account……well, make one and follow us!

Also, keep your eyes open mid-next week for a special opportunity related to this contest.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

(You can leave any questions in the comments.)

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #49 Yovani Gallardo

BBtJN Logo

Welcome back to “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”, my annual countdown to Opening Day.

We’re seven weeks away from tailgating, bunting (both the good kind and likely the reviled kind), cheering, high-fiving, and (if you’re old enough) day-drinking.

That’s all there is left. Just seven weeks. Seven little weeks. And you already know this because of both simply math and the fact that it’s written right there in the title of the column, but seven weeks left multiplied by seven days per week gives us the knowledge that we’re 49 days away.

What you also already know is who wears #49 for the Milwaukee Brewers. He is the longest-tenured Brewers pitcher who wears #49 in honor of his childhood idol Teddy Higuera. He is…

Yovani Gallardo.

YovaniGallardoPhotoDay

I stopped short, just now, of even referring to Gallardo as the “staff ace” in Milwaukee. He’s got the tenure and up until last season consistently performed as the best starting pitcher year in and year out (with the exception of parts of Zack Greinke’s Milwaukee tenure) when he was healthy and on the mound. Such was not the case in 2013.

In fact, 2013 was the overall worst statistical season of Gallardo’s seven as a Brewer. He posted an ERA over 4.00 (4.18) for the first time along with just 144 strikeouts in just 180.2 innings pitched. That dropped his K/9 rate to a career-worst 7.2 and despite his downtick in BB/9, he still finished with a career second-to-worst K/BB of 2.18.

This couldn’t be coming at a worse time for Milwaukee as Gallardo’s base salary jumps by $3.5 million this year. They do hold a club option for 2015 at $13 million with just a $600 thousand buyout. Make no mistake, but even less after signing Matt Garza to a four-year contract: How Gallardo pitches in 2014 has an incredible amount to do with where Gallardo pitches in 2015.

But to this point, it’s all been for the Brewers franchise after being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. Gallardo signed a month after the draft and pitched for both the Arizona rookie and Beloit Class-A affiliates that year. He posted a 0.47 ERA in six starts in Arizona before the promotion. Gallardo spent all of 2005 with Class-A West Virginia making 18 starts in 26 appearances, mostly with the idea of limiting his innings. Gallardo’s progress was accelerated after that, at least in comparison to most Brewers minor leaguers these days. He split 2006 between Class-A Advanced Brevard County and Class-AA Huntsville. He made 13 starts for each and posted very similar lines at both despite the talent difference at Huntsville. Gallardo started 2007 in Nashville until his mid-June callup to Milwaukee. He hasn’t looked back accept for a short rehab assignment to begin the 2008 season after tearing the meniscus in his left knee that March. He did lose almost all of 2008 anyway to an ACL tear in his right knee (which coincides exactly with the beginning of my sports-hate for Reed Johnson), but had pitched very well since then.

What’s more, Gallardo was a model of consistency in the two years prior to last year. He struck out between 200 and 207 hitters in each of the four years between 2009 and 2012. He pitched 207.1 innings in 2011 with 207 strikeouts and 204.0 innings in 2012 with 204 strikeouts. He allowed 27 home runs in 2011 and 26 homers in 2012. There are more examples, but the only thing with a wild fluctuation between the seasons was Gallardo’s walk total. It was just 59 in 2011 but ballooned to 81 in 2012. But in 2013, Gallardo cut his walks back down to a total of 66 (3.3 BB/9) which wasn’t as good as 2011 (2.6) but still better than 2012 (3.6).

So if it wasn’t the walk rate that torpedoed Gallardo last season, what exactly did happen in 2013?

Part of the answer if that we really don’t know for sure. Despite the advances in metrics, measurements, analysis, and the like, these are still human beings trying to live up to numbers. A couple of things with potential impact did happen that we know about for sure. First, Gallardo agreed to participate in the World Baseball Classic for Team Mexico which led to an shorter off-season, earlier ramp up times, and possibly impacted his preparations from a regular season standpoint. It has been mentioned multiple times this off-season, when prompted, that the WBC may have had some impact on Gallardo. Of course, all of last season when Gallardo was struggling it was consistently dismissed as a possible cause. We’ll see what a regular off-season does for Gallardo’s fortunes in 2014.

The other things we know of, although we have no idea how long it may have continued to be a problem or what caused it to happen in the first place, but there was the matter of an off-the-field issue when Gallardo was arrested for DUI in April. It was in the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 16th. Gallardo pitched on the 13th and was scheduled to toe the rubber again on the 18th. That’s not to excuse the timing of the DUI, but at least to offer the factual context.

Gallardo was cited, fined, and admonished for the act. It’s not only poor form, but in a world of multi-million dollar contracts, clubhouse attendants, personal assistants, and a league-sponsored program to provide drivers for players who have had too much to drink on a given night, it’s fairly hard to understand how it could have happened at all. Then again, alcohol has been known to impair judgment a time or two.

The bottom line for Gallardo is that he’s got a job in Milwaukee for 2014 in the starting rotation. Beyond that, he certainly has a lot to prove for someone with his track record. He needs to refind his ability to miss bats, while maintaining the control that he’s demonstrated in the past. If he sacrificed strikeouts in an odd attempt to decrease his walks and reduce his pitch counts, it worked to some degree but he lost much of his effectiveness along the way.

All that said, let me reiterate one point in conclusion: Gallardo has a lot of influence over his 2015 with his results in 2014. One would think that his calm and relatively reserved demeanor would lend itself to his wanting to pitch well so he could stay in Milwaukee.

Let’s just hope he pitches like it.

Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:

Brewers On Deck to Feature Over 50 Players, Alumni, Coaches, Broadcasters

BREWERS ON DECK, PRESENTED BY TIME WARNER CABLE, TO INCLUDE OVER 50 PLAYERS, COACHES, BROADCASTERS & ALUMNI

Free Admission to All Fans in 2014; Food Donations Accepted through Hunger Task Force

Nearly thirty Milwaukee Brewers players plus a host of alumni, coaches, front office executives and broadcasters are scheduled to participate in Brewers On Deck, presented by Time Warner Cable, which is set to take place on Sunday, January 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Wisconsin Center.

Admission to this year’s Brewers On Deck is free of charge.  Tickets are not required for the event.  Food donations will be accepted through the Hunger Task Force (peanut butter is requested by the Hunger Task Force, in particular).  Donations can be dropped off at two main entrances to the Wisconsin Center, located at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, and 4th Street and Wells Street.  Players, coaches and alumni scheduled to attend include (all subject to change):

Players (28)

  • Jeff Bianchi
  • Michael Blazek
  • Ryan Braun
  • Hiram Burgos
  • Khris Davis
  • Marco Estrada
  • Mike Fiers
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Scooter Gennett
  • Caleb Gindl
  • Tom Gorzelanny
  • Brooks Hall
  • Sean Halton
  • Donovan Hand
  • Johnny Hellweg
  • Jim Henderson
  • Elian Herrera
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Hunter Morris
  • Jimmy Nelson
  • Mark Reynolds
  • Jason Rogers
  • Logan Schafer
  • Jean Segura
  • Kevin Shackelford
  • Will Smith
  • Tyler Thornburg
  • Rob Wooten

Alumni (7)

  • Craig Counsell
  • Rollie Fingers
  • Jim Gantner
  • Larry Hisle
  • Geoff Jenkins
  • Gorman Thomas
  • Robin Yount

Coaches (10)

  • Ron Roenicke
  • Joe Crawford
  • Mike Guerrero
  • Marcus Hanel
  • Garth Iorg
  • Rick Kranitz
  • Johnny Narron
  • Ed Sedar
  • John Shelby
  • Lee Tunnell

Broadcasters (3)

  • Jerry Augustine
  • Dave Nelson
  • Bob Uecker

— 

Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family.  Autographs and photos from Brewers players, coaches and alumni; interactive games in the Kids Area; Q&A sessions and game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters; vendor booths with baseball memorabilia; Brewers Community Foundation’s Treasure Hunt and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.

Details regarding autographs include the following:  Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs (players to be announced next week) will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry sheet which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center District.  The Premier Entry sheet will be exchanged for a numbered coupon to be entered into the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players.  Coupon distribution will be available at 8 a.m. the day of the event and will continue up to an hour before each designated autograph session.   There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding winning coupons must pay $10 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature.  There will be 250 winners for each of the autograph sessions.  The winning ticket numbers will be posted at the designated autograph stage no less than 30 minutes prior to each player’s session.

Players and staff not included in the PREMIER autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of these players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10. A schedule of players, their session times, and distribution info will be posted next week.  The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia.  For additional information, visit Brewers.com/ondeck.

Autograph proceeds benefit Brewers Community Foundation.  Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs. The Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player.

Fans also have the opportunity to enter to win autographs from their favorite players via a #BrewersOnDeck Vine & Instagram contest, which runs through Monday, January 20. The details can be found here: http://brewers.mlblogs.com/2014/01/07/win-an-autograph-from-your-favorite-brewers-player-at-brewers-on-deck/

Brewer Nation Podcast – Off-Season Primer

Recorded on location last night, here is the latest Brewer Nation podcast.

Check the tags for some of the players mentioned during this hour-long clip.

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