The Brewers announced the signing of Yovani Gallardo to a $30.1 million contract that will carry through 2014, his first year of free agency. The contract also contains a team option for 2015 worth $13 million.
This is excellent news. Gallardo is a fantastic young pitcher who still has room to improve. Last season, Gallardo led the Brewers staff with a 3.73 ERA, a 3.97 FIP, and a 3.76 xFIP. Of course, the Brewers rotation was terrible last season, but that still places Gallardo as one of the top 10-20 pitchers in the National League, and he just turned 24 this offseason. If there’s one guy on this team – besides Ryan Braun – that you want to lock up for an extended period of time, it’s Yovani Gallardo.
Let’s take a look at the money in this contract. Here’s the breakdown:
10: 500K 11: 3.25M 12: 5.5M 13: 7.75M 14: 11.25M 15: 13M (600K buyout)
This is very similar to the Jon Lester deal from 2009. Even though Gallardo isn’t quite as good a pitcher as Lester is (too many walks), this is still a very favorable deal for Milwaukee. Gallardo’s projected to be a 3-3.5 win pitcher, at least, this season, and is still improving. That puts his monetary value for this season at about 10-12 million dollars. That means that he’s leaving a little bit of arbitration money on the table, as the standard 40%/60%/80% split for his three arbitration years (’11-’13) would pay out roughly $4-4.8M/$6-7.2M/$8-9.6M. However, that’s assuming that the economy doesn’t pick up. Given that most economists are saying that the recession is over, I expect salaries to pick up again either next year or by 2010. That would make the salaries for his arbitration years a big win for the club, and I would be very surprised if Gallardo’s $11.25M ’14 salary and $13M ’15 salary aren’t bargains.
This contract is just one of many this year to take advantage of the downturn in player salaries in order to try and get bargains on contracts in 5 years or so – Justin Upton‘s contract, for example. This is the way that a small market team like Milwaukee has to operate in order to keep up with the large market teams. Not only that, but it should raise fan and player morale. Ryan Braun already said “I think it’s great for the city to know that we’re going to have our ace to build around for the next five years.”
There’s nothing but positivity surrounding this deal. This is a great sign that this franchise can remain competitive in the years to come, and as Braun said, it’s great for the city of Milwaukee and for Brewers fan everywhere.