Orioles trade starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo to Mariners

The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a trade that will send starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for outfielder Seth Smith.

Gallardo was signed by the Orioles before the 2016 season as a veteran pitcher looking to stabilize a rotation with a lot of question marks.  However, Gallardo finished the year with a lackluster record of 6-8 and an ERA of 5.42.  His early season injury problems were a disappointing setback and despite returning to the rotation later in the year, he never produced at a high level.

Much like Wade Miley and Ubaldo Jimenez, Gallardo was a last resort acquisition that cost the Orioles too much money.  With all three pitchers under performing last season, there was no need for all of them to be in the starting rotation come opening day.  Fortunately, the Orioles found a way to get something in return for Gallardo’s departure.

One of the biggest issues going into 2017 has to be finding a replacement for Mark Trumbo.  While Trumbo has yet to sign anywhere, the odds of him returning to Baltimore are slim at best.  The acquisition of Seth Smith could be a nice replacement option for Trumbo, but at the very least, it gives Buck Showalter some more outfield flexibility.  Smith started games at both right and left field last season and finished with a batting average of .249 and an on base percentage of .342.

While there is a chance that Smith could be the starting right fielder come opening day, it is more likely that he finds himself in a platoon role with fellow outfielders Hyun Soo Kim and Michael Bourn.  Manager Buck Showalter has never been one to throw a player into a starting role unless they have proven themselves and we know how much he likes to platoon his corner outfielders too.

Overall this deal is definitely a beam of hope in the Orioles uneventful offseason. Orioles general manager Dan Duquette pulled the trigger on a safe deal that has a fair amount of upside and not much downside.  As stated before, there was no need for Gallardo, Jimenez, and Miley to all return this year and eliminating one of those three contracts is a win in itself.

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