Yovani Gallardo is coming home, and the Texas Rangers’ starting rotation just got a whole lot better for 2015.
The Rangers acquired Gallardo from Milwaukee on Monday for three prospects — headed by shortstop Luis Sardinas — to bolster a pitching staff that was in need of another starter.
The Rangers sent Sardinas and right-handers Corey Knebel and Marcos Diplan to the Brewers, who surrendered their all-time leader in strikeouts and a homegrown leader of their rotation in the final year of his contract.
Milwaukee will pay $4 million of the $13 million owed in 2015 to Gallardo, who lives near Eagle Mountain Lake and was drafted in 2004 from Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth.
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The teams swapped medical information on the involved players late Sunday night, and the deal was completed when Major League Baseball signed off on the money changing hands.
Gallardo, who had made five consecutive Opening Day starts for Milwaukee, will join fellow righty Yu Darvish and left-hander Derek Holland atop the Rangers’ rotation.
Colby Lewis and Ross Detwiler, acquired in December from Washington, will round out the rotation to begin the season.
“I’m very excited; it definitely means a lot,” Gallardo said. “Throughout my career, I think I’ve been doing pretty good. I’m ready to take the ball. I’m going to give it all that I have and at the end of the day, we’re going to see what happens. I’m going to prepare and give my team a chance to win.”
Gallardo features a fastball that routinely hits 92 mph, a 12-to-6 curveball and a slider with quick movement late. The Rangers also like his changeup, though he doesn’t throw it often.
Gallardo is a workhorse, having logged at least 30 starts in six consecutive seasons, and the Rangers like his athleticism, competitiveness and aggressive pitching style.
“Yo’s an experienced guy who’s pitched in big moments,” said pitching coach Mike Maddux, who was Gallardo’s coach in Milwaukee from 2007-08. “He’s logged 200 innings multiple times. He’s going to be a good addition to the staff and to the team. He’s always been one of everyone’s favorite teammates.”
Though he can be a free agent for the first time after this season, Gallardo would be open to a contract extension with the Rangers. Gallardo, who turns 29 on Feb. 27, is married with a young son and would embrace pitching close to home.
“We’re going to let it play out,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “We haven’t had any discussions with Yovani at this point, but I would imagine it’s something we’ll revisit. We’re definitely open to it.”
Sardinas and Knebel were on the Rangers’ 40-man roster, with both having major-league experience. Knebel was acquired in July from Detroit in the Joakim Soria trade, but he was shut down at Triple A after the trade because of elbow issues.
Diplan, 18, was part of the Rangers’ July 2 international haul in 2013 and went 7-2 with a 1.54 ERA last year in the Dominican Summer League.
“I think it’s a good haul overall,” Daniels said. “The depth of our system allowed us to do this.”
Right-handers Nick Tepesch, Nick Martinez, Lisalverto Bonilla and Alex Gonzalez likely all become depth, something that the Rangers were exposed for not having last season after an unprecedented rash of injuries.
That also helps make the team better. The addition of Gallardo, though, helps the Rangers in their quest to contend this season.
“We’re in a lot better position than we were a couple months ago,” Daniels said.
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What the Rangers get
Yovani Gallardo: Newest member of the Rangers’ rotation is 89-64 with 3.69 ERA in his career.
What the Rangers give up
RHP Corey Knebel: Former University of Texas pitcher, a reliever, was acquired in July in the Joakim Soria trade.
RHP Marcos Diplan: Part of the Rangers’ July 2 international haul in 2013, went 7-2 with 1.54 ERA last year in the Dominican Summer League.
SS Luis Sardinas: A top-10 Rangers prospect but part of a deep group of middle infielders. Debuted last season.