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Brewers officially exercise Yovani Gallardo option for 2015

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Gallardo will return to the Brewers for a ninth season as the Brewers decided to pay him $13 million rather than let him become a free agent.

Andy Lyons

UPDATE: Officially officialer

Starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo has been with the Brewers for eight major league seasons. He'll get at least one more in 2015 as the Brewers officially picked up his option for 2015 on Thursday, reports Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors.

Gallardo will earn $13 million in 2015 as per the terms in his deal. The option was part of a five-year, $30.1 million contract he signed before 2010.

Now the all-time franchise leader in strikeouts, Gallardo is coming off of arguably his best season yet. Over 32 starts, he had a career-best 3.51 ERA along with a 3.94 FIP, a 1.29 WHIP, a 6.8 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9. Though Gallardo's strikeout numbers have dropped in recent years, he's adapted to become more of a well-rounded pitcher. He still has trouble pitching late into games, but $13 million on one-year is a great deal for a pitcher of Gallardo's caliber.

Barring any injuries between now and 2015, the Brewers will now have a tough decision when it comes to their fifth starter. Gallardo, Matt Garza, Kyle Lohse and Wily Peralta are all guaranteed jobs in the rotation. That leaves former top prospect Jimmy Nelson and MVBrewer #6 Mike Fiers to duke it out for the final spot. Fiers has the more proven major league track record, but also has more experience pitching out of the bullpen. If Fiers is the man for the fifth spot, Nelson will likely return to the minors for one more season until needed in the majors.

Bringing back Gallardo also means the Brewers will probably be looking at losing two starting pitchers following the 2015 season when both he and Lohse are free agents. Nelson will almost assuredly take one of those two spots, but the next will be up for grabs. Perhaps a Taylor Jungmann type could take over -- otherwise, the Brewers have not been shy about signing mid-flight starting pitchers in free agency.

The Brewers still have option decisions to make on Aramis Ramirez and Rickie Weeks. Weeks' option is highly unlikely to be picked up while Ramirez is more up in the air.