Source: Yovani Gallardo's pending deal with Baltimore on hold

Jeff Passan
·MLB columnist
Yovani Gallardo (AP Photo)
Yovani Gallardo (AP Photo)

The contract between free-agent starter Yovani Gallardo and the Baltimore Orioles was on hold Tuesday after questions about his health emerged during the medical examination that was the last step to finalize the deal, a source familiar with the holdup told Yahoo Sports.

While it’s unclear what Baltimore saw that gave it pause, the Orioles in the past have renegotiated deals and scuttled others altogether because of physicals they deemed questionable. The status of the three-year, $35 million contract to which Gallardo agreed remains in question, the source said.

Gallardo, 30 later this week, was considered the last impact free-agent starting pitcher and would cost the Orioles the No. 14 overall draft pick if signed because he rejected the Texas Rangers’ qualifying offer. Considering the outlay in both dollars and the draft pick, the cost was prohibitive and could lessen if the Orioles push for changes because of the medical examination.

Despite a strikeout rate that dipped to 5.91 per nine innings last season, Gallardo’s ERA of 3.42 led Rangers starters, and he threw his seventh consecutive season of at least 180 innings.

While they sort out the Gallardo deal, the Orioles on Tuesday signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a three-year, $35 million contract and will lose a first-round pick to the Chicago Cubs.

In 2013, after agreeing to a contract with closer Grant Balfour, the Orioles spiked the deal because of an issue they found in his physical. Balfour went on to sign with Tampa Bay and struggled through what would’ve been the entirety of his contract with Baltimore.