It's been a slow offseason so far for the Brewers (and all of baseball, really, as several veterans still sit on the free agent market), but the team officially announced their first two notable moves of the winter today, confirming they've signed pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Jhoulys Chacin.
While Gallardo's contract is a major league deal, it looks like there's no guarantee there will be a spot for him on the Brewers' eventual 25-man roster, and the homecoming could be short-lived if he doesn't earn a spot in camp.
No guarantees for Gallardo. David Stearns says in a statement announcing the deal, "We look forward to seeing Yovani in camp and watching him compete for a spot in our rotation or bullpen.”— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) December 21, 2017
The minimal financial commitment being made to Gallardo would seem to indicate that it's definitely possible he's not around long in 2018 if he doesn't produce. Adam McCalvy says Gallardo's one-year pact is non-guaranteed:
Yovani Gallardo's one-year, non-guaranteed deal with the Brewers: $2M base salary with $2M more available in incentives. They includes bonuses for both starting and relief work.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) December 21, 2017
Gallardo's $2 million base doesn't kick in unless he makes the Opening Day roster. The $2 million more in incentives include bonuses for both innings and games, so he's covered whether he ends up in the rotation or the bullpen.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) December 21, 2017
For a team with the Brewers' payroll space, that's a very minimal commitment, and a deal very similar to the one they signed Tommy Milone to last offseason before easily get out of when Milone wasn't performing. With those specific terms, there's really nothing to be mad about. The non-guaranteed nature and cheap salary for a veteran with Gallardo's track record makes it a "meh" deal at worst, and -- if you believe the small sample as a reliever last year -- a potential buy-low gem if things do work out.
Meanwhile, we also have the details on what Chacin will be making over the next two years, and the salary distribution makes it seem like an even more reasonable deal than first thought. From Jon Heyman:
chacin breakdown: $1.5M signing bonus, $8M in 2018, $6M in 2019. #crew— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 21, 2017
With the signing bonus added in, the Brewers are effectively using some of their free payroll space to give him $9.5 million this year, front-loading the deal so they only have to pay him $6 million next year. With next winter's free agent class expected to be loaded, those extra few million dollars for 2019 may come in handy.
The Brewers will announce a corresponding move to make room on the 40 man roster later today, per McCalvy.