And I’m not just saying that because I’m a Braves fan. MLB.com’s Braves expert Mark Bowman thinks so too, reporting that Wagner’s agent has been in contact with Atlanta and making the excellent point that, though signing Wagner may very well cost a team a first round pick, the Braves are unique in that their need at closer will be occasioned by losing two relievers — Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez — each of whom will bring a similar compensation pick in return.
More generally, Wagner is the kind of guy Bobby Cox and the Braves brass loves: older and lower maintenance. He’s coming off of surgery sure, but at a point in his career where there isn’t a huge need for Cox to baby him. He makes more sense in Atlanta than just about anyplace else.
Bowman cites Fernando Rodney as a fallback option, but after the John Rocker and Mark Wholers eras, I’m pretty sure that Bobby Cox swore off of wild things with great gas. It’s a health thing. Both mental health and cardiovascular health. Bobby’s old now and doesn’t need any more 20-pitch ninth innings than are absolutely necessary.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.