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Orioles rumors: "Making progress" with Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo and the Orioles seem to have nowhere left to turn except for each other. Now, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the two sides are "making progress".

If the Orioles are going to make any real attempt to improve their starting rotation from outside the organization, Yovani Gallardo has long seemed like the only possible option. As the free agent market has moved along, Baltimore has seemed more and more like the only place where Gallardo might find a home. Little wonder that the day after one of the last other free agents signed elsewhere, the O's are, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, "making progress" with Gallardo.

This dance has gone on for months, where the O's every now and again are said to be "interested" or "still interested" in Gallardo. This is the first time there has been a rumor that goes beyond that language. When you get into something like "making progress" that suggests that negotiations are active and have moved past what was a prior reluctance from one side or the other to make a deal.

The pros and cons of Gallardo haven't changed in that time. Yes, if the O's sign him, they'll give up the #14 overall pick, a player who if they're lucky might turn into Travis Snider or something. Yes, his velocity has been steadily declinining, as has his strikeout rate, and they're probably not coming back. Gallardo walks too many guys.

While there's no actual reason for anyone in Birdland to be excited at the prospect of the O's signing Gallardo, if we're presented with having to accept it, there are some justifications to cling to and hope for the best, especially if the price ends up being right.

Even as his fastball has lost a couple of miles per hour, he's maintained a ground ball rate of almost 50%. Gallardo also pitched in a generally hitter-friendly park with the Rangers this past season and showed he could have some modest success, posting a 3.42 ERA over 184.1 innings.

Take away all the other worries and focus on that and there's no doubt the O's rotation could use a pitcher who can perform like that. You can't just shut out the other worries, of course, because they're all legitimate concerns, reasons to suspect that Gallardo won't be performing at that level in Baltimore.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman says the two sides are discussing a deal with three guaranteed years. That's only a plus if you are really a Gallardo partisan. Fears of an ongoing decline will only increase over the length of a three year deal. The best thing you can say about it is that if the O's are giving up a draft pick, they're getting three years out of a player at the big league level, assuming he doesn't get hurt (which he hasn't in his career to date) or suck.

The possible downside is a big problem to get past. Maybe the Orioles think that Gallardo will be able to hold on to solid results for at least another three seasons. Maybe they've reached the point where they're desperate enough to make any improvement that they'll talk themselves into anything. He might do OK. Even with all the potential downsides, he still seems like a more certain option than relying on one of Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright, Vance Worley, or Odrisamer Despaigne from the get-go.

It's not a great idea. They must know it and that's why they haven't done it up until now. But the hour grows late and they do still need to do something about the rotation. Gallardo is just about the only possible choice left out there. So they and we can only cross our fingers and hope for the best.