Gallardo Deserves More Appreciation Than He’s Gotten

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I know exactly what you're thinking about Yovani Gallardo.

He's tough to watch. He works too slow. He can't get out of the sixth inning to save his life, and in frustrating manner he's pretty much a lock to be removed at 90 pitches, even if he's going well, because it's been rightly determined he loses significant action on his breaking stuff at that point.

In short, he's been pretty frustrating in his first season in Texas since the Rangers acquired him this winter from Milwaukee with hopes of making him a very good No. 3 starter. Instead, he was the de facto No. 1 for months after injuries to Yu Darvish and Derek Holland.

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While the Rangers were scuffling through the first few months of the year before adding Cole Hamels and bullpen help at the trade deadline, Gallardo was the unsung glue of what was actually a better-than-expected starting rotation.

Gallardo, who grew up in Fort Worth and attended Trimble Tech High School, has said since he was acquired it was an honor to pitch for the team he grew up watching, and at the trade deadline when his name was being tossed around in rumors he made it clear he preferred to stay here and pitch for his hometown team.

But here's the thing about that: Gallardo isn't going to be brought back in 2016. There simply isn't room for him with Yu Darvish set to return and guys like Chi Chi Gonzalez fighting for a spot in the rotation while Derek Holland and Martin Perez, along with Hamels and Darvish, are all locked up for a while.

Gallardo is a free agent and will likely be made a qualifying offer that he's highly unlikely to take, especially coming off a career-best year with a career-low ERA (3.42) in his first season in the American League after a career spent in the National League — a rare transition to make successfully.

Gallardo has gotten no run support this year, which has led to his 13-11 record, while Colby Lewis, on the other hand has 17 wins and got more than five runs a game in support. While Lewis leads the team in wins and innings pitched, it's no secret who the glue of the staff has been this year, and that's Gallardo.

So when you see Gallardo laboring and taking two hours to get through 5 2/3 innings on Thursday, don't poo-poo it. Appreciate what he's done this year, because it's quietly been pretty special.

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