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Yovani Gallardo could be the biggest pitcher moved at the deadline.
Best Fit: Yovani Gallardo to the Baltimore Orioles
Of all the things that baffle me about baseball, and there are many, the one that sticks with me the most, especially since the start of the 2012 season, has been the success of the Baltimore Orioles.
I don't mean that in a condescending way, either. No one saw them making the playoffs in 2012, but an incredible bullpen and remarkable record in one-run and extra-inning games made them the surprise team (along with Oakland).
Now, despite having a starting rotation largely comprised of spare parts, bringing up Kevin Gausman earlier than they probably wanted to and Dylan Bundy—who would have been first on the call-up list entering the season—having yet to throw a pitch in a game at any level, the Orioles find themselves 42-31, 1.5 games behind Boston in the American League East.
The Orioles' starters currently rank 18th in innings pitched, with 413.2, and 27th in ERA, at 4.76. That has to be the spot they target during the trade season, with Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo making for a very attractive option, considering his salary, age and the fact that he is signed through 2014.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that there are whispers that, if the Brewers do put Gallardo on the market, the Orioles could make a play for him:
Gallardo may be a logical target for the Orioles, and Orioles pitching coordinator Rick Peterson very much likes Gallardo, as Gallardo thrived when Peterson was in Milwaukee as pitching coach. So there's more than just guesswork here.
However, the initial word is that the Orioles' interest isn't as strong as one might guess. In fact, it doesn't seem strong at all right now.
Gallardo might be affordable in terms of what the Orioles, or any other team, might have to give up, considering his struggles this year. He has pitched better recently, giving up just seven hits and three walks in his last two starts (14 innings). Granted, one of those starts was against Miami.
Moving to the American League East would be a test for Gallardo, but it could also help his career. He seems adrift at times with an underperforming Brewers team that doesn't figure to contend anytime soon.
The Orioles, for all their flaws, find ways to win games and have a good young nucleus with Manny Machado, Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Chris Davis. They could get better later this season, as Gausman gets more experience, and next year with Dylan Bundy making his return, assuming he stays healthy.
They still need at least one more starting pitcher who can give them 180 innings if they want to be an elite team in the American League.