Sources: Crew to bring back free agent Gallardo

December 16th, 2017

The Brewers are on the verge of a reunion with , multiple sources confirmed Monday.

As first reported Saturday by MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, Milwaukee is in agreement on a Major League contract with its second-round pick from 2004. The club has not confirmed the report, and it is not expected to make an announcement until the middle of the week at the earliest, because Gallardo must first pass a physical.

New details of the agreement emerged Monday. While precise terms are not yet known, Gallardo's deal is believed to have some characteristics similar to the one struck last offseason between the Brewers and left-hander Tommy Milone, who got a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with a $1.25 million base salary and $750,000 in incentives.

With Milone coming off a subpar season, the non-guaranteed element was key from the Brewers' perspective. It allowed the club to assess Milone during Spring Training with the option to release him before Opening Day and owe only a portion of his base salary. Milone wound up making the Opening Day roster, but he was designated for assignment on May 1 and wound up with the Mets.

Such a minimum-risk arrangement would make sense for Gallardo, who is entering his age-32 season and has a 5.57 ERA in 248 2/3 innings over the past two seasons with the Orioles and Mariners. He spent the season before that in Texas after an eight-year career with the Brewers from 2007-14. The right-hander ranks among the Brewers' all-time leaders in strikeouts (first, 1,226), wins (fifth, 89) and innings (seventh, 1,289 1/3).

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Gallardo, who was moved to the Mariners' bullpen in September and finished the year with a 5.72 ERA, had his $13 million option declined by the club at the end of the season, making him a free agent.

The Brewers' most glaring offseason need was in the rotation, as their No. 1 starter, Jimmy Nelson, is not expected to be fully recovered from a shoulder injury to his pitching arm by Opening Day. With a promising nucleus anchored by Nelson, and Chase Anderson, and complemented by a blossoming lineup, the Brewers finished just one game shy of the postseason last year.

But beyond Davies, Anderson and , who pitched in just 70 1/3 innings last year due to a calf strain sustained during his Opening Day start, there hasn't been a definitive rotation outlook to 2018. , once considered their top starting-pitcher prospect, pitched formidably in his callup season in '17, with a 2.08 ERA, but all of his innings were out of the bullpen.

The Brewers had also been speculated to potentially pursue one of the top starters on the market, and had been linked to , though general manager David Stearns tempered those speculations ahead of the Winter Meetings.