One of the reasons teams have spring training is to see how their new players will fit in with the club. In the case of this year’s Mariners squad, seeing newly acquired, Yovani Gallardo, struggle at both the World Baseball Classic and during spring ball has put the organization on notice that maybe they should have replacements lined up.
Within the last week, Yovani Gallardo continued to struggle as he has all spring. It appears that whether he’s pitching in the WBC or in the Cactus League, he still hasn’t reached his goal to be a dominant, healthy arm in the Mariners rotation.
His start yesterday was the most alarming of the five appearances his made between the two competitions giving up seven runs on nine hits -three of which were home runs- and two walks all in just 4.1 innings of work.
Gallardo has allowed at least four runs in three of his five starts in the month of March, walked multiple batters in three of those five starts, and has allowed three home runs in a game twice.
His cumulative ERA will finish at 9.18 for the spring as he will likely not fit in another start before Opening Day.
Seeing that time is running out for the Mariners to begin to put the pieces together for who they want on their 25-man roster, the team has made some telling moves that suggest that if Gallardo continues to struggle as epically as he has, his time at the big league level may be short.
Over the last three days, the M’s have optioned lefty, Ariel Miranda, and righty, Chris Heston to Triple-A Tacoma to start out the year. Both men are viable starting options and have proven they are up to the task of the role in recent seasons.
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The M’s have also tested out left-hander, Dillon Overton in a starting role to see what they can get out of him. Overton is still vying for a lefty bullpen spot but appears to be the odd man out behind James Pazos and Marc Rzepcynski.
If he ends up off the 25-man roster and down in minor league ball, he too could be another option to fill in for Gallardo.
At 11 million dollars per year, plus a two million dollar buyout option, the M’s are expecting big things from Gallardo. At the moment they are not seeing that from him and appear to be planning for a shakeup if he continues to down this path of mediocrity.
The Mariners want him to succeed, so if he was sent down, he likely wouldn’t stay there for very long, just long enough for him to seriously work on his craft.
Let’s hope this backup plan never comes to fruition, but we can see that the M’s are preparing for the for the worst.