O's look forward to playing alongside Gallardo

Gausman: 'I think it makes our rotation a lot better'

O's look forward to playing alongside Gallardo

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The news, which came out Saturday night, started to circle around the Orioles' clubhouse via text. Baltimore had finally reached an agreement with free-agent starter Yovani Gallardo on a three-year deal guaranteed to net him $35 million, according to a source. The club has not confirmed the deal.

And just like that, one of the biggest storylines in camp is already set.

O's add veteran Gallardo on 3-year deal

Gallardo, who has a $13 million option for 2019, solidifies the O's rotation, and his pending arrival was the cause for much excitement in Sarasota on Sunday morning.

"It's letting all of us know that the front office is all in, too," said shortstop J.J. Hardy, who played with Gallardo for three seasons in Milwaukee. "Everybody is all in, so it's good. It's good to be a player here. That's why I wanted to stay back [and sign an extension], because I felt they were going to do everything they possibly could to make this team as good as possible, and that's what they're doing."

Catcher Matt Wieters, who accepted a qualifying offer to stay in Baltimore, said: "[Gallardo has] proven year in and year out he's going to be able to compete and give you a chance to win games. From watching from the other side, watching him on the mound, I love the guy's mentality on the mound and how he goes after it. He's as consistent a starter as there's been. Not only does it help our staff because he's a great pitcher, it also makes the staff that much deeper and everybody feed off each other."

Gallardo, who will likely take his physical on Monday, joins a group that also includes Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Miguel Gonzalez and Kevin Gausman.

"To have a guy who's been there and done that season after season is only going to be make us better," Gausman said of Gallardo, who has 102 wins and a 3.66 ERA in nine big league seasons. "I think it makes our rotation a lot better. It also gives us a bunch of different looks. He's a really over-the-top guy, arm-angle-wise, good breaking ball. I know he has a real good fastball. I know it will play well in Camden Yards. I think someone told me his splits, American League and National League are really good. Any time a guy can pitch well in the AL, he's done it before, so we're looking forward to him doing it again."

Gallardo went 13-11 with a 3.42 ERA for Texas last year, but his declining strikeout rate was cause for concern among some potential suitors. In 2015, Gallardo set career lows in swing-and-miss percentage (6.5) and strikeouts per nine innings (5.9).

One of the sport's most durable pitchers over the past seven seasons, Gallardo has made at least 30 starts and thrown at least 180 innings every year since 2009. He also boasts a solid playoff resume, having gone 2-2 with a 2.32 ERA in three trips to the postseason (six appearances).

"I don't know a lot [about him], but I know he does the job and does the job well," Tillman said. "We've got a couple guys who have been around him, and I've heard nothing but great things. It's exciting, it really is."

"We will receive him with happiness," added Jimenez. "I've known him since I played against him in Triple-A and in the Majors [while in the NL]. So I know him a little bit. He's a great guy, a great competitor. He's going to go out there and try to do everything to win his game. Especially if we play against the NL, they better be careful because he can make his own runs."

Gallardo has 12 homers and 42 RBIs and is the Major League's active leader in home runs for pitchers.

"Yeah, he can hit," Hardy said. "I remember, I think it was against San Francisco, he threw a shutout and hit a solo homer to win the game."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.