The Seattle Mariners made headlines on Friday when they swapped OF Seth Smith for Baltimore Orioles P Yovani Gallardo.
Though 2016 was a rough season for the former Milwaukee Brewer star, Gallardo has been a workhorse pitcher in the past, throwing more than 180 innings in seven of the past eight seasons.
However, the Gallardo trade will likely come back to haunt Seattle, a team that finished just three games out of the final American League wildcard spot in 2016.
Here are three reasons the 2010 All-Star right-handed pitcher will struggle with his new team in 2017:
SafeCo Field isn’t as pitcher-friendly as people think
Surprisingly, fans at SafeCo field saw the the most home runs in Major League Baseball in 2016. With 234 bombs launched in Seattle, SafeCo finished four ahead of second-place Yankee Stadium and six ahead of Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, which lead all National League parks with 228.
Gallardo gave up 1.2 home runs per nine innings last season, tied for his career-worst mark. If the ball continues to fly out of the yard in Seattle next season, that could spell disaster for his career and for the Mariners’ playoff chances.
He’ll have a worse defense behind him
Though the Mariners only made nine more errors than the Orioles in 2016, that will be a problem for Gallardo.
For a pitcher with only 85 strikeouts in 118 innings last year, Gallardo needs to feel confident pitching to contact. In order to do that, he needs a better defense.
Gallardo is on the downside of his career
For a team like the Mariners, who could be as little as a year away from serious contention, signing Gallardo seems like nothing more than a stopgap measure.
The right-hander’s prime, which ran from 2010 to 2012 with the Milwaukee Brewers is behind him and, 2015’s success with the Texas Rangers aside, he’s seen most of his statistical contributions decline.
Last year was a low point for the former All-Star, but all signs indicate that things are only going to get worse for the 30-year-old pitcher as time goes by.