Joakim Soria moved one step closer to Tommy John surgery, as a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum confirmed the initial diagnosis of a damaged ulnar collateral ligament.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that Soria is “taking a few days off to consider options” following the second opinion, but adds that surgery “seems likely.”
If he does go under the knife Soria would miss all of this season and possibly the beginning of next season, which may cause the Royals to decline their $8 million option on the stud closer for 2013.
Jonathan Broxton and Greg Holland are the leading in-house candidates to replace Soria in the closer role and the Royals have already decided to move Aaron Crow back to the bullpen.
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.