Baltimore has also sent over cash in the deal to cover Gallardo’s contract. In the move, Baltimore will save $4M. It could possibly give them the money to sign other players, including slugger Mark Trumbo.
The Orioles have acquired OF Seth Smith from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for RHP Yovani Gallardo and cash considerations.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) January 6, 2017
“Gallardo gives us the veteran presence that we have been searching for,” said Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto in a statement. “He has a track record of durability and success as a starting pitcher. After examining the free agent and trade market, Yovani is the best fit for our club as we move forward this offseason.”
Gallardo, 30, pitched to a 6-8 record, with a 5.42 ERA in 2016. It was his highest ERA as a Major Leaguer. Usually, Gallardo has been a dependable starter, but he had his struggles with the Orioles. He missed two months of the season with a shoulder injury, which led to his velocity to go down. However, Gallardo has a career record of 108-83 and a 3.79 ERA.
Going to a larger ballpark may help Gallardo because the AL East has some pretty small ballparks. Gallardo has also pitched in the AL West before with the Texas Rangers in 2015. With the Rangers, Gallardo had a record of 13-11, with an ERA of 3.42, so he has had some success. Safeco Field is a very large field, which could help Gallardo keep the ball in the park.
“Seth Smith brings veteran leadership, experience and an accomplished bat to the Orioles,” said Orioles GM Dan Duquette. “We look forward to him contributing to the 2017 club.”
Smith, 33, had a slash line of .249/.342/.415 and hit 16 homers, including a .256/.351/.431 slash line with the Mariners last season. He had 31 extra-base hits and played in 137 games. His glove also gives stability to an Orioles right field that had issues in 2016. He ranked 5th in the AL among outfielders in fielding percentage in 2016 (.994) and holds a career .989 fielding percentage.
The Orioles currently have Joey Rickard and Hyun-Soo Kim platooning in left field, as well as Adam Jones in center field, with Smith manning right. Rule 5 draft picks Aneury Tavarez and Anthony Santander will compete for one of the final spots as backup outfielders.
Baltimore had six starters on the team and with trading Gallardo away, they clear up a space in their rotation. As currently constructed, the Orioles starting rotation will stand as such:
As for Trumbo, this move could be the precursor. It frees up $4M in cash for Baltimore, which could give Trumbo a bit more cash. The Orioles could also look in the direction of pitching, whether it is a reliever or starter.