When the World Series ends and the baseball offseason begins, there's going to be one key question the Texas Rangers will be waiting on an answer for, and it's what is going to happen on the Yovani Gallardo front.
The longtime Fort Worth resident, who attended Trimble Tech High School, talked time and time again this year about how great it was to pitch in Arlington for the team he grew up supporting. And not only did he pitch for the Rangers in 2015 after being acquired in the winter from Milwaukee to solidify the Rangers' rotation, he put together a career year.
It was especially rare to see because Gallardo had spent his whole career in the National League — traditionally more pitcher friendly — before coming to the American League and the designated hitter and putting up a career-best ERA of 3.42. Look at what guys like Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza did when they came here from the NL, where they were among the senior circuit's elite. They fell flat on their faces.
Gallardo didn't, and now he's a free agent with the Rangers still clamoring for some pitching rotation depth. There's no question Gallardo will get a qualifying offer from the Rangers, which is set at $15.8 million for this year — a hefty pay day on a one-year deal for 2016.
If Gallardo accepts that offer, he makes the Rangers' rotation pretty damn formidable as a No. 3 starter, which is what he was originally brought in to be last year. But he does it at a price and basically hinders the Rangers from making any other moves in free agency. It's a small risk for the Rangers, but not much of one.
That's because Gallardo will most certainly get a nice market going for his services coming off his 2015 season. He's just 29 and will likely get a three- or four-year deal from some team out there for a lot more than the Rangers would be offering in the one-year qualifying offer. If that happens, and Gallardo leaves, the Rangers would then receive a first-round draft pick as compensation for losing him.
That's the most likely outcome in the whole deal, but there's still a small chance Gallardo will be back in his hometown pitching in 2016.