Orioles concerned about Yovani Gallardo’s shoulder

Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP

The Orioles and starter Yovani Gallardo agreed on a three-year, $35 million contract on Saturday, but the deal has yet to be finalized as the veteran hurler had to undergo a physical. Earlier, it was reported that the Orioles had an issue with Gallardo’s results, and Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun has the details.

Gallardo, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, has made 30-plus starts in seven consecutive seasons and has a health history clear of shoulder woes, but the Orioles are concerned about the right-hander’s shoulder. Encina notes that the deal is “far from dead” and that the Orioles may just be extra cautious since the club is forfeiting a draft pick in order to sign Gallardo. Gallardo turned down the Rangers’ $15.8 million qualifying offer in November, which means that a team that signs him must forfeit its first round draft pick (if unprotected) or its next-highest pick (if protected).

There may be something to the Orioles’ cautiousness, however. Gallardo saw his average fastball velocity decline to a career-low 90.4 MPH last season and his strikeout rate dipped for a sixth consecutive season. He finished last year striking out 15.3 percent of batters faced, below his career average of 21.5 percent and the American League starting pitcher average of 19.1 percent. Even without updated medical results, that was reason enough to be skeptical of Gallardo’s ability to perform at a high level going forward.