If the Cardinals are going to make a deep playoff run it sounds like it will have to be without shortstop Rafael Furcal and probably without first baseman Lance Berkman too.
General manager John Mozeliak was pessimistic about the chances of either player returning from injury this season and in fact Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes that he “all but extinguished hope” for Furcal’s return.
“The clock’s not on our side,” Mozeliak said about Furcal, who hasn’t played since injuring his elbow on August 30 and may eventually need surgery that comes with a six-month recovery timetable.
Berkman’s odds of returning are better, but Strauss reports that he’s yet to swing a bat since undergoing a second knee surgery and has toned down his recent optimism about potentially coming back.
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.