Texas Rangers

Yovani Gallardo declines Texas Rangers’ offer in favor of free agency

Starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo went 13-11 with a career-low 3.42 ERA in his first season with the Texas Rangers.
Starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo went 13-11 with a career-low 3.42 ERA in his first season with the Texas Rangers. Star-Telegram

Yovani Gallardo’s homecoming is over.

The right-hander who grew up in Fort Worth, attended Trimble Tech High School, and lives near Eagle Mountain Lake, declined the Texas Rangers’ $15.8 million qualifying offer and will test the free agent market.

He made $14 million in 2015 after being traded to the Rangers from the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the last year on his five-year deal with the Brewers, who paid $5 million of the 2015 salary while the Rangers picked up the remaining $9 million.

Gallardo, who turns 30 in February, went 13-11 with a career-low 3.42 ERA in 184  1/3 innings in his first season with the Rangers.

It was a dream-come-true to have the opportunity to pitch here, to play for the team I grew up watching. I enjoyed it a lot. It was a great group of guys to be part of. It was fun.

Former Rangers pitcher Yovani Gallardo

“It took the whole week to think about it. We went back and forth on the advantages and disadvantages on taking the deal,” Gallardo said. “Since Day One, it was a dream come true to have the opportunity to pitch here, to play for the team I grew up watching. I enjoyed it a lot. It was a great group of guys to be part of. It was fun.”

Gallardo is looking for a long-term deal, his agent Bobby Witt, a former Rangers pitcher, said.

“It was a very tough decision for Yovani and his wife but at the end of the day we believe there’s some security out there as far as long-term [contracts] and that’s what he’s looking for,” Witt said.

3.42 Gallardo’s ERA with the Rangers

The Rangers can still sign Gallardo, but they’ll be fighting other clubs who may be willing to offer more money and more years.

The prospect of the Rangers retaining him are slim. Gallardo put together the best month of his career last June when he allowed just two earned runs over 39  1/3 innings and six starts spanning June 4 to July 2.

At the All-Star break, the Rangers showed little “true interest” in signing Gallardo to a long-term deal, Witt said.

Gallardo was disappointed a deal couldn’t be worked out then.

I was a little upset, but yet again I kept going out there and competing for ... my teammates.

Yovani Gallardo, on his reaction after a Rangers long-term deal wasn’t forthcoming at the All-Star break.

“Yeah, of course. I showed the kind of pitcher I was, to go out there every five days and give it 110 percent each and every time out,” he said. “I was a little upset, but yet again I kept going out there and competing for those guys, my teammates. That’s the kind of person I am. I’ve done that throughout my career and I’m going to continue to do that.”

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said earlier this week the club’s interest in re-signing free agent right-hander Colby Lewis could rise if Gallardo declined the offer. Lewis signed a one-year deal for $4 million before the 2015 season. Lewis led the club with 17 wins and 204  2/3 innings this season, although his ERA was 4.66.

Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus was the first player to accept a qualifying offer in the four years the system has been in place. The first 34 players over the past three years declined the qualifying offer. Orioles catcher Matt Wieters and Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson followed Rasmus’ lead early Friday afternoon and accepted the offer.

Both earned around $8 million in 2015, so they nearly doubled their salaries by accepting the one-year offer. Including Gallardo, 20 players received qualifying offers.

The Rangers’ interest in re-signing free agent right-hander Colby Lewis could rise now that Gallardo has declined the offer.

Qualifying offers

This is the fourth year the league has used qualifying offers to help determine the salary value for free agents.

Each year the league determines the average salary for the top 125 highest-paid players the previous season, which was $15.8 million this season. A year ago, it was $15.3 million. The only players eligible for qualifying offer are those who played the entire previous season with the same club.

If a free agent signs with a new team after declining a qualifying offer, his old team is awarded a compensatory pick in the June first-year player draft. Compensatory picks are wedged between the first and second rounds.

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @StevensonFWST

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