It all happened just like we envisioned it would — the 4 p.m. deadline Friday to offer free agents a $15.8 qualifying offer came and went with the result being an offer extended to starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo and not one to veteran starter Colby Lewis.
Gallardo was the epitome of solid for the Rangers in 2015. He never blew anyone away, but he also never left games with his team out of it. Lewis led the Rangers in both innings pitched and wins (17) but had some stinkers along the way and was really bad down the stretch.
This is what happens now: Gallardo has until next Friday to decide if he wants to accept the one-year, $15.8 million deal and be a Ranger in 2016 or reject it and negotiate freely with everyone in baseball, including the Rangers. If he signs elsewhere, the Rangers will be compensated with a first-round draft pick in June's draft. It's a win-win.
No player has ever accepted a qualifying offer in the few years since the procedure began in Major League Baseball, but there is talk that Gallardo could be the first. It's still not likely, but he is a hometown guy who has expressed time and time again how much he enjoyed pitching for the team he grew up cheering for. He's also far from the top pitcher on the market this winter but would be one of the top ones next winter if he put together another season in 2016 like he did in 2015.
The Rangers might bring Lewis back to be the No. 5 starter on another one-year deal, but it's hard to believe no team will give him multiple years after his 17-win season, and I'm not sure the Rangers would go that far.