clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

With Latos off to Chicago, Orioles potential pitching options shrink to Yovani Gallardo

One plausible Orioles rotation option, bounce-back candidate Mat Latos, signed with the White Sox for only $3 million. With each passing signing, it seems more and more like the O's and Yovani Gallardo will be stuck with each other.

Every time another one of the remaining free agent starting pitchers signs with a different team, a union between the Orioles and Yovani Gallardo seems a little bit more likely. Another one of the players thought to be an O's option, Mat Latos, signed with the White Sox on Tuesday, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported.

Latos will get $3 million guaranteed for the 2016 season. That's a long way removed from the $10 million contract he was predicted to be in line for at the beginning of the offseason. It's for such a small number that it's kind of surprising that the Orioles don't appear to have been interested at or near that price.

The 6'6" righty, 28, is only a season removed from posting a 3.25 ERA in 2014. That was a half season of work due to Latos tearing knee cartilage in spring training. But the year before, he tossed over 200 innings for the Reds and managed a 3.15 ERA. That's pretty good.

Not so good was his 2015 season, which seems to have been hampered by that same knee. Latos had fluid drained from the knee during spring training and was not so great over the whole year. He pitched in 22 games for three different teams, 21 of which were starts, and his season ERA was 4.95. Ouch. For $3 million, though, why wouldn't the O's at least take the chance? They flushed away about as much on utility infielder Everth Cabrera last offseason. A potential starting pitcher seems like a much better bet.

Maybe the O's stayed away because nobody really seems to like the guy. It's one of those things that "everyone" knows, though obviously I've never met the guy myself, nor talked to anyone personally who hates his guts. The wide baseball media, comprised of many people who have met the guy and talked to his teammates, just kind of takes for granted that the dude's a dick.

It is one plausible explanation for why, even with his injury problems last season, Latos has had to settle for $3 million with a non-contending team less than 10 days before pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Perhaps most teams didn't want to deal with him at any price, and perhaps the O's, even with their rotation opening, were one of those teams.

Whether he's healthy or not, whether he's a jerk or not, the fact is he's signed with a team who isn't the Orioles, and that leaves the O's, if they really want to take a stab at improving the starting rotation, with no other choice but Gallardo - and Gallardo, it seems, if he wants to pitch in 2016, with few other choices than the Orioles.

You may or may not like the idea of Gallardo. I sure don't. Still, there's nobody else out there. Are you ready to roll with Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Miguel Gonzalez, and whoever wins the fifth starter battle out of the guys with minor league options? None of us are ready for that, of course, but would you feel so much better with Gallardo in there, the Orioles top draft choice forfeited, and the filler options all pushed down to Norfolk?

For me, the kneejerk reaction is still to say no. That said, if Gallardo's price tag ends up coming down in desperation, can the O's afford not to roll the dice on him? The answer to that is also no. There's nowhere left for them to turn, and there doesn't seem to be anywhere left for Gallardo to turn, either.