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Milwaukee Brewers, Rangers Finalize Yovani Gallardo Trade

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The Milwaukee Brewers have finalized the deal sending Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers, and will acquire Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and Marcos Diplan in return for the soon to be 29 year old right hander. The deal was first reported yesterday, and we had been waiting until now for the medical exams to finish up before the trade was finalized.

Here’s what the Brewers gave up:

Yovani Gallardo was drafted by Milwaukee in 2004, an made his Major League debut in 2007. While Yovani never developed into the “ace” many hoped he would, he still posted an 89-64 record in 214 games in Milwaukee, putting up a 3.69 ERA in 1289.1 innings. By some accounts, Gallardo had a career year in 2014, posting career lows with a 3.51 ERA and 2.5 BB/9, and had a career best 50.8% ground ball rate. Gallardo is in the option year the contract extension he signed in 2010, and is due $13 mil this season, of which the Brewers will reportedly pay $4 mil. The righty, a Ft. Worth native, is a free agent following 2015 and could conceivably be open to signing an extension with the Rangers.

Here’s what the Brewers got:

Luis Sardinas IF

Sardinas is a 21 year old infielder who made his MLB debut last season. In 43 games (125 plate appearances), Sardinas managed a .261/.303/.313 line, good enough for a 75 OPS+.  He has a career .289/.336/.355 line in five minor league seasons, though his bat has always been behind his fielding ability. A shortstop by trade, he was named “Best Defensive Infielder” in the Rangers system by Baseball America in 2012, and has ranked as a top 10 prospect following three of his five seasons. The switch hitter could begin the season as the Brewers primary backup infielder, or he could go back to the minors for some polishing.

Corey Knebel RHP

Knebel was drafted by the Tigers with their compensation round pick in 2013. The 24 year old was traded to Texas in the Joakim Soria deal. He was ranked by Baseball America as the 6th best Tigers prospect after 2013, and has posted a 1.65 ERA in 76.1 career minor league innings with 18 saves. The righty has an outstanding 12.3 K/9 rate in the minors to go along with a .904 WHIP. He debuted with the Tigers last season, throwing 8.2 innings with and giving up six earned runs. Knebel sprained his UCL in August, causing him to miss the rest of the season. He didn’t get surgery and passed his physical, but that elbow could be cause for concern in the future. If he is healthy, he will likely be apart of the Brewers bullpen in 2015.

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Marcos Diplan RHP

Diplan could be the most exciting prospect of the bunch, but is also the furthest away from contributing at the big league level. The 18 year old righty started 13 games in the Dominican Summer league in 2014, posting an outstanding 1.54 ERA in 64.1 innings. Diplan struggled with his control, walking 36 batters, but gave up only 32 hits and two home runs. He will no doubt start this season in the very low minors, but he could develop into an impact starter given time.

All in all, I think this was a very solid trade for the Brewers. Gallardo had only one year of control left, and it didn’t seem like the Brewers were very inclined to try and extend him. Even if they had given him a qualifying offer, the three players they got from Texas should be more than enough to make up for a potential compensation pick. The Brewers won’t compete in 2015, though, unless they pursue a pitcher to replace Gallardo. The trade opens up roughly $9 mil in payroll, giving the Brewers flexibility to pursue a top flight pitcher to replace Yovani in the rotation. I speculated earlier that James Shields could be a target, though for now both Jimmy Nelson and Mike Fiers appear to have spots in the rotation locked up with Taylor Jungmann as the next man up. Knebel and Sardinas were both added to the 40 man roster, and the Brewers have apparently designated Hunter Morris for assignment, which I predicted a couple days ago.

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