Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Oriole # 1008- Yovani Gallardo

This past off-season saw the Orioles embroiled in a few strange controversies, which I wish I could say was surprising, but for those of us who have followed the team over the years, some of these odd occurrences seem all too common in Baltimore. It was originally reported that the Orioles and Yovani had agreed to a three year deal, but then the O's, who seem to have the most rigorous physical process in baseball, had some concerns about what they saw in the physical. The purported deal languished, and it seemed like both sides might go their separate ways, before the pact was restructured and they agreed to a contract of two years with an option for a third. Shortly after this time, it was announced that the Orioles had signed Dexter Fowler to a three year deal before he showed up at the Cubs Spring Training facility to announce that he had signed a one year deal with them. Such is life in Birdland. 

At least the team ended up with one of the two free agents, and Yovani Gallardo made his Orioles debut as the starting pitcher in the team's second game of the season to officially cement his place as the 1008th player to appear in a game for the Orioles. He pitched five innings in his debut against the Twins, gave up just a single run, and earned the win for his efforts. His second game against the Red Sox in Boston didn't go as well, as he again pitched five innings, but this time game up five earned runs, but was bailed out by the O's bats to earn a no decision.

Who knows what this season will bring, and I wasn't totally on board about giving up one of the team's first round picks to sign him, but there is no doubt that the Orioles needed starting pitching help, and Yovani has been a consistent MLB starter for almost a decade.

Yovani was drafted by the Brewers in the second round of the 2004 draft and he pitched for the Brewers from 2007-14 with a 89-64 record. (The O's picked Wade Townsend who never signed in the first round, and lost their second rounder to the A's in return for signing Miguel Tejada to a free agent deal). The Brewers traded him to the Rangers prior to the 2015 season and he went 13-11 in his lone season in Texas. One of the main selling points for Yovani is the fact that he has made at least 30 starts each season since 2009, a consistency that has been lacking for many of the Orioles starters during that time.

Yovani signed these cards for me on my trip to Spring Training this past March. He had only signed with the team a few days before we left, so it was a quick turnaround for my dad to make these cards, but not surprisingly, he came through! And I only saw Yovani sign the one time that I got him, so I'm happy that it worked out that he signed for me!

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