Kill Your Darlings: Yovani Gallardo as Trade Bait


It’s no secret, fans. The Milwaukee Brewers will likely be selling — and selling hard — in the upcoming trade window by the All-Star Break.

This presents a situation of sorts for Milwaukee Brewers fans, to say nothing of the players themselves. As a player, you can never feel too comfortable on any given team — you are a commodity that puts butts in the seats and runs and wins in the standings. As a fan, you certainly love and root for certain players but you know in your heart of hearts that this relationship can’t last forever.

With that in mind, Kill Your Darlings is here to put a certain amount of emotional distance between you and the Milwaukee Brewers players who may or may not be leaving us in the next several weeks.

We begin this series with Brewers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo – one of the most talked-about Milwaukee trade candidates.

The Situation: Milwaukee Brewers GM Doug Melvin has not necessarily shied away from the talk that this team is in rebuilding mode. In his own coy manner, he has managed to leave every option open while still emphasizing that the team is focusing on the future as opposed to contending for a division title in 2013.

Yovani may be staring the barrel of an upcoming trade this month (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)

Melvin has not yet publicly stated that Yovani Gallardo is being shopped around, but did tell Sporting News that the deal would have to be “something that would wow me.”

Gallardo’s numbers and performance haven’t traditionally been the kind of stats that bring out blockbuster deals, but the point remains valid. Yovani is 27 years old and under team control until 2015. Even with a slight regression possible he can still come near or top 200 innings and 200 strikeouts again this year, and his ERA can easily slide below 4.00. Milwaukee fans, and even we in the blogosphere like to lament that Yovani Gallardo is not an “ace”, but it’s an argument over semantics that tends to diminish the very real value he has.

Why He Should Go: Because he’s 27, under team control for a few years in a very team-friendly deal, and offers value to a staff looking for a dependable and affordable piece.

At the beginning of June, Yovani’s ERA was 5.25. Entering the beginning of July, he has dropped it all the way down to 4.09 on the back of 22 innings without an earned run (he gave up three unearned run in his last start, a June 20th loss to the Houston Astros). He’s walked only six of the 101 batters he’s faced, and he looks poised to take command of his season in a big way. This is good news for any team looking to add depth to a division race.

Look — we all like Yovani Gallardo. He’s a good pitcher. He can mix his pitches

Gallardo can be a dependable pitcher for any number of Major League clubs – but will the Brewers want him to remain on the team in 2013? (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)

well, and when his location is on he can confound batters and slide strikes into the corners. He’s fairly young yet and we were able to capitalize on his objectively better seasons. In the next few seasons, hen he reaches into his thirties, he simply doesn’t have the stuff to remain a top-tier pitcher — assuming he was one to begin with. If this team is going to make it into Wild Card and Division races an aging two or three pitcher simply won’t cut it leading this rotation.

Beyond that, there are some more intangible reasons that Yovani Gallardo brings that makes a move beneficial for the Milwaukee Brewers. (Ed.’s Note: I generally shy away from these sorts of topics, but seeing as how this is intended to give you a reason to let go, I would be remiss in not discussing it.)

Yovani is hardly the emotional cornerstone of this team and rarely appears affable or even excited to be part of a Major League line-up. In a team trending towards youth, the oft-mentioned leadership becomes increasingly important. Add in his early-season booking on Driving Under the Influence, and you have a pretty good mix of the kind of person most fans aren’t likely to rally around. I’m not saying these are important reasons for everyone to dismiss a player – but when all you have is a hammer everything starts looking like a nail.

Yovani Gallardo can block trades of up to ten teams — we aren’t clear on which ones those are (except for the Baltimore Orioles, who seemed interested in having him) so moving him quickly may be a problem. There are several teams in the NL West that would likely be interested in him, but it’s up to Melvin to find the returns that would best fit the team going forward.

When you put all of this together and look at the future of the Milwaukee Brewers, the question becomes pretty clear: it’s not so much why he should stay, but why shouldn’t he go?