The Texas Rangers acquired right-hander Yovani Gallardo and cash on Monday, sending three prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers in order to fortify a rotation whose ERA last season ranked 28th in baseball, major league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Gallardo, 28, is the second starter the Rangers have acquired this offseason following a deal for left-hander Ross Detwiler. He’ll join Yu Darvish and Derek Holland in a rotation whose back end remains somewhat in flux, with a number of candidates vying for a spot until Martin Perez returns from Tommy John surgery.
Milwaukee cleared Gallardo’s $13 million salary off its books, perhaps positioning itself for a run at free agent James Shields or a trade for a frontline starter, and acquired infielder Luis Sardinas, reliever Corey Knebel and 18-year-old prospect Marcos Diplan.
Sardinas, 21, debuted with Texas last season and can play second base, shortstop or third base. Knebel, a former first-round pick, came to Texas last season in the Joakim Soria trade and could help with a Brewers bullpen that lost Francisco Rodriguez and Zach Duke via free agency. Diplan is the wild-card, a 6-foot right-hander who warranted a $1.3 million signing bonus from the Rangers in 2013. He dominated the Dominican Summer League last year but has yet to pitch in the United States.
After an injury-destroyed season, the Rangers are banking on comeback years from Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus and Holland, along with the continued improvement of Darvish and the further growth of one of the better minor league systems in the game.
Gallardo, who had spent his whole career with Milwaukee, is 89-64 with a 3.69 ERA. After striking out at least one batter per inning over his first four full seasons, Gallardo’s strikeout rate has dipped each of the last two seasons. He did put up a career-best 3.51 ERA in 2014. A free agent after this year, Gallardo likely would warrant a qualifying offer from Texas, meaning were he to sign elsewhere, the Rangers would recoup a first-round pick.
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