Gallardo & Fowler Would be Worth Losing Draft Picks

Dexter Fowler of the Cubs swings.

O’s fans are stuck in a waiting game right now, as the Baltimore front office seemingly endlessly debates whether signing Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler is worth giving up the team’s top two picks in the draft.

It’s no secret that the Orioles have a depleted farm system and their top prospects are fragile pitchers who, while initially highly thought of, have been victimized by injures that have cast serious doubts on their major league futures.

A lot of analysts and experts would say that it’d be best for the team to hold onto its picks and restore the farm. However, Baltimore has already spent too much money this offseason, and if a World Series is truly their goal, they can’t stop now.

The offseason can almost be simplified as the team trading Wei-Yin Chen for Mark Trumbo and Hyun-Soo Kim. Oh, and not to mention dishing out an extra $200M to keep three players in Baltimore.

The reality is the Orioles need to add Gallardo and Fowler in order to compete and keep fans happy.

So how valuable are these picks that Baltimore would be giving up? First, let’s take a look at the next last 11 players taken in the No. 14 slot, which Baltimore would have to give up for Gallardo:

No. 14 Picks

2005- OF Trevor Crowe

2006- OF Travis Snider

2007- OF Jason Heyward

2008- OF Aaron Hicks

2009- P Matt Purke

2010- P Dylan Covey

2011- P Jose Fernandez

2012- P Nick Travieso

2013- C Reese McGuire

2014- P Tyler Beede

2015- P Kolby Allard

(Paul Valle gave an extended look at these picks here.)

The big names that jump out at you are clearly Heyward and Fernandez. They’ve have their success in the MLB and the Orioles would love to have players in their mold at this spot.

There’s still been more busts at this position though, as Crowe and Snider haven’t been worth their selections. Purke, Covey and Beede didn’t sign in their selections at No. 14, but have struggled in the minors after being drafted in later years.

Hicks is still trying to find steadiness in the MLB after a trade to the Yankees, while it’s too early to tell how Allard will look.

It’s clear that the No. 14 spot is very hit or miss, in a slot where most of the agreed-upon big names are already selected.

Many fans are worried about Gallardo’s decreasing K/9 rate, but the right-hander is still reliable. Last year, Gallardo posted his lowest HR/9 rate since his rookie season, and his 3.42 ERA was his lowest since 2008. He’s clearly past his days of being a No. 1 starter, but he is also a much better option than anyone else on the market, or that the O’s could pencil in based on their current roster.

Are Gallardo’s track record and contract worth this spot? Probably not. However, the Orioles need an upgrade in the rotation and can afford to lose this pick, especially for a proven MLB talent who would immediately bolster their rotation.

Signing Gallardo means the Orioles would be all in on losing their picks and Fowler could be next on the list. Let’s take a look at who’s been taken at the No. 29 position, which is the comp. pick for Chen that the O’s would have to give up to sign Fowler:

No. 29 Picks

2005- P Jacob Marceaux

2006- P Kyle McCulloch

2007- OF Wendell Fairley

2008- 3B Lonnie Chisenhall

2009- OF Slade Heathcott

2010- P Cam Bedrosian

2011- 2B Joe Panik

2012- OF Lewis Brinson

2013- OF Ryne Stanek

2014- SS Alex Blandino

2015- P Jonathan Harris

Panik is the big name here and the only other recognizable figure is Chisenhall. The No. 29 slot has its fair share of misses, but it’s still too early to tell for those drafted post-2012, to be fair.

The track record at this position isn’t flashy and the Orioles really need a right fielder with a good arm. Fowler could also lead off for the team and get on base, something they’re sorely lacking.

Fowler revived his career last season with the Cubs, notching career highs in games played (156), home runs (17), and runs scored (102). He had five outfield assists, got on base at a .346 clip (career .363), and seems to be a clear upgrade over Nolan Reimold or Dariel Alvarez. Fowler could lead off, allowing the team to move Manny Machado down in the order.

The thought here is that he’s certainly worth losing the pick, especially if the team signs Gallardo first.

It’s never fun giving up picks, especially with a depleted farm system, but Baltimore is in compete-now mode and the No. 14 and No. 29 picks have had plenty of misses. For the O’s to give themselves the best chance at winning a World Series in the near future, they can’t be concerned about prospects who won’t make an impact for years to come.

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About Tyler Beard

Tyler Beard
I'm Tyler Beard and I'm a Mass. Comm. major on the Journalism track at Towson University. I'm from Bel Air, Maryland and I've been a huge Orioles, Ravens and Terps fan my whole life. I've always had a passion for writing ever since I was younger and I love talking...more

One Cheer about “Gallardo & Fowler Would be Worth Losing Draft Picks

  1. avatarMWT on said:

    The obvious move was to sign Mat Latos and trade for another bat, and retain both draft picks. Pitchers are so random from year to year, that it’s way too short sighted to overvalue or write them off because of one outlier season. Latos’ BB/K ratio last year was right in line with his career numbers so he was a much lower risk than Gallardo. Chicago got him for $3M for one year. Zero risk…

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