Less than three days after agreeing to a three-year, $35 million with Yovani Gallardo, the Orioles reportedly have questions about the veteran pitcher’s physical.
According to Yahoo Sports, the status of the deal was “unclear” Tuesday afternoon as the Orioles have historically conducted rigorous physical exams before officially signing free agents. The physical began on Monday, but it is not uncommon for exams conducted by the organization to take more than one day.
Team officials had previously been attracted to Gallardo’s history of making 30 or more starts in seven consecutive seasons, but pitching nearly 1,500 innings in the major leagues will lead to wear and tear and wouldn’t guarantee that there isn’t a problem with his pitching arm after closer examination. Gallardo’s decreasing strikeout rate and average fastball velocity would also be red flags to support whatever concerns a detailed exam might have returned.
The Orioles would forfeit the 14th overall pick in the amateur draft to sign Gallardo.
It was just two offseasons ago when Baltimore walked away from a two-year, $15 million agreement with 2013 All-Star reliever reliever Grant Balfour due to concerns about his shoulder. Those concerns proved to be warranted as Balfour pitched to a 5.00 ERA in the last two seasons with Tampa Bay and was released last May.
That failed physical with Balfour as well as another with outfielder Tyler Colvin reportedly contributed to veteran starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo passing on an offer from the Orioles later that offseason to sign a two-year deal with Arizona. Despite having never been on the disabled list to that point in his career, Arroyo injured his elbow that season and underwent Tommy John surgery.
Of course, should Gallardo not pass his physical, the Orioles would again be left with a gaping hole in their starting rotation and virtually no viable options remaining on the market with spring training already underway. And that’s not even considering the potential fallout another failed physical would create in signing future free agents.