The Orioles are still discussing the results of additional tests on right-hander Yovani Gallardo’s right shoulder as they prepare for their first full-squad workout Wednesday morning.
They received the results of the tests Tuesday evening and according to one industry source, their three-year, $35 million deal with Gallardo is currently “up in the air.”
The holdup with Gallardo is more than simply him “passing” a team physical. Before giving the green light on a deal, the Orioles evaluate very closely whether they see the player performing throughout the life of the deal.
Gallardo has never missed time with any sort of arm injury over his career. And his remarkable track record of durability – he has thrown nearly 1,500 major league innings before the age of 30 – could actually hurt him in the Orioles' physical.
He has averaged 191 innings over the past seven seasons since missing most of 2008 with ACL surgery, the only significant injury Gallardo has ever had.
Given the innings Gallardo’s thrown, there has to be some wear and tear on his shoulder, but that’s pretty normal for any pitcher.
However, if the Orioles are convinced that there are warning signs that Gallardo wouldn’t remain healthy over the course of his deal, they could nullify the agreement and attempt to renegotiate a shorter deal.
As I wrote this morning, there’s no guarantee that Gallardo’s camp would do that. With spring training just starting, Gallardo is just a few sore arms away from having an expanded market. That’s the risk the Orioles take, so they have to be content with an internal competition for the No. 5 rotation spot before nullifying Gallardo’s deal.
Back in 2013, when the Orioles nixed their two-year, $15 million deal with closer Grant Balfour, it was because they were concerned about Balfour breaking down in the second year of the deal. They were willing to renegotiate a one-year deal with Balfour, but by that time, the bad vibes created by casting a “damaged goods” shadow on Balfour made any resolution difficult.
However, Balfour – who signed a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays – didn’t last through the second year of his deal. He was released twice by the Rays in the first two months of the 2015 season, so in that context, the Orioles were right.
As I wrote this morning, Gallardo is a different case. Unlike Balfour, who was 36 and had shoulder and elbow surgeries, Gallardo will turn just 30 this week and he has never been placed on the disabled list for an arm injury over the course of his big league career.
But when you add in the Orioles losing a draft pick – even if it’s now the 28th overall selection they are forfeiting because of their pending deal with Dexter Fowler – in the club’s eyes, it’s even more important to ensure Gallardo will be healthy throughout the course of the deal.