Brewers bolster rotation with Chacin, Gallardo

Club addresses need due to Nelson's injury

December 21st, 2017

MILWAUKEE -- One free agent right-hander is new to the Brewers, coming off one of the best seasons of his career. The other is one of the most accomplished homegrown pitchers in franchise history, hoping to rediscover his old form.

The Brewers on Thursday finalized their first moves to address offseason objective No. 1, fortifying the starting rotation with the free-agent signings of veteran right-handers and after both players passed physical exams. Chacin's is a two-year pact that guarantees $15.5 million, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, and a baseball source said Gallardo's is a one-year, non-guaranteed deal with a $2 million base salary and $2 million more available in incentives.

The Brewers have been in the market for starting pitchers in part because Jimmy Nelson will miss at least the first few months of 2018 while recovering from right shoulder surgery.

"With these additions, we feel like we've made progress," Brewers GM David Stearns said. "We think we've helped solidify our pitching unit as a whole and given ourselves some options beyond what we have internally. If other opportunities emerge over the next couple of months, we're not going to turn our back on those, either."

In Chacin, the Brewers signed a pitcher who turns 30 in January and is coming off a solid season with the Padres in which he went 13-10 with a 3.89 ERA in 180 1/3 innings. One reason for his success: A plus slider, which the Padres encouraged Chacin to feature more prominently last season against left-handed hitters.

"Watching the [Brewers] play last year and the chemistry, the way they played on the field, they were having fun and winning, that's something I want to be part of," said Chacin, who has yet to pitch in the postseason. "I'm really glad that I [have] their trust. I want to do my job, throw innings, quality innings, and try to win more games for them, the team, for us."

Gallardo will turn 32 in late February and will report to Spring Training with no promises. While Chacin seems a lock for the Brewers' rotation, Gallardo's base salary won't be guaranteed until he makes the Opening Day roster. His incentives include bonuses for innings and appearances, covering Gallardo whether he winds up in the starting rotation or the bullpen.

"I feel confident," said Gallardo, who pinned some of his recent struggles on a shoulder injury that delayed his debut with the Orioles in 2016. "Especially the last couple years, I understand things happen and things don't go your way. But I'm not worried about that. I'm going to go out there and compete the way that I've always competed for the last 10 years, and we'll go from there and see what happens."

His production with Milwaukee from 2007-14 puts him among the best pitchers in Brewers history, but he was traded to the Rangers before the 2015 season and went on to have consecutive poor seasons with the Orioles and Mariners in 2016 and '17. Gallardo was 5-10 with a 5.72 ERA in 130 2/3 innings last season for Seattle and became a free agent when the Mariners declined his $13 million club option.

As a Brewer, Gallardo was 89-64 with a 3.69 ERA in 214 games (211 starts). He is the all-time franchise leader in strikeouts (1,226) and ranks among the franchise leaders in winning percentage (third, .582), wins (fifth), ERA (fifth), starts (sixth) and innings (seventh, 1,289 1/3). Gallardo can also hit a bit; he is the franchise leader in home runs by a pitcher, with 12.

"This is a veteran pitcher who's had a lot of success in his career, who's had a lot of success in this uniform," Stearns said. "He's still relatively young and he's been throwing the ball hard. In fact, there was a pretty meaningful velocity uptick last year, and we think with a couple of tweaks, he can get back to being the very successful pitcher he was. …

"I think he's looking to wipe the slate clean, and he's excited to do so back with the Brewers."