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It’s been a few weeks for the dust to settle since the Brewers marquee signing for the 2014 season, in Matt Garza I, for one, was not expecting a drastic change to the rotation this offseason. I thought Tyler Thornburg would round out the rotation. However, could this Garza signing soon mean the end of Yovani Gallardo‘s tenure in Milwaukee?
Garza has signed a four-year, $50 million contract, while Kyle Lohse has two years left on his $33 million deal. Gallardo has a single year remaining on his current deal, with a club option of $13 million for 2015.
Gallardo’s production dropped drastically in 2013, to a 4.18 earned run average and a five-year low of 180 innings pitched. It would seem unlikely for the Brewers to activate Gallardo’s 2015 club option or to offer an extension if these numbers are repeated this season.
The signing of Garza might indicate that the Brewers backroom staff are not inclined to extend Gallardo. The current Brewers salary commitment for ’14 is around $96 million. By picking up Gallardo’s option, they would already be heavily committed for ’15. However, with Aramis Ramirez‘s contract expiring, the Brewers will be looking for both a first and third baseman.
Hunter Morris might be ready to take over first base, but it is unlikely Nicky Delmonico will be ready to move up from the minors to fill the gap at third. Currently. the Brewers are spending $23.5 million on two of their starting rotation in ’15. Therefore, expect the Brewers to invest a substantial chunk of their spare money in an everyday player at first and/or third, not pitching.
I think the only scenario that the Brewers pick up Gallardo’s option for 2015 is if he is able to pitch 200+ innings, with an earned run average around 3.50. Spending around 40% of the playing budget on just three starting pitchers is a risky ploy and possibly detrimental to the batting lineup.
If the Brewers struggle I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lohse jettisoned along with Gallardo. The demand for prospects at the trade deadline will strong if the Brewers don’t compete in 2014. The Brewers are left with the toughest decision if Gallardo improves during 2014.
I guess only time will tell.