Takashi Saito is a Type A free agent, but in order to receive draft pick compensation for his departure the Brewers would have to first offer him arbitration and have him decline. That isn’t happening, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that they’ve agreed not to offer the 41-year-old reliever arbitration.
Teams are now free to sign Saito without forfeiting a first-round pick, which should boost his market considerably. In fact, the likelihood that any team would give up a pick to sign a 41-year-old reliever is so slim that Saito probably would have just accepted an arbitration offer from the Brewers and locked himself into a one-year deal to return.
Instead he’ll go looking for work as a setup man. Saito missed nearly the entire first half with hamstring and back injuries, but was his usual unhittable self after returning in July with a 1.46 ERA and .186 opponents’ batting average in 25 innings. He’s posted a sub-3.00 ERA in all six of his big-league seasons.
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.