The Orioles, Astros and Rockies have emerged as the primary suitors and likely finalists for free-agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo, according to an industry source. Gallardo's timeframe on signing is not known at this point.
The Blue Jays and Royals have been linked to Gallardo in recent reports, though it appears the Royals are out after signing Ian Kennedy and Toronto's interest was just preliminary. Baltimore and Houston have been among the teams in on Gallardo since the Winter Meetings last month, with Colorado entering the race in the last few days.
Houston seems poised to add a free-agent starter in the near future, as sources say that they are talking to many of the best available options at this late stage of free agency. Gallardo, a Texas native, spent last season with the Rangers and may be inclined to stay close to home.
Orioles general manager Dan Duquette downplayed the idea of forfeiting a draft pick to sign Gallardo in a radio appearance on Friday, telling Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio that he believed the team would "hang on to that pick." Baltimore lost left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to the Marlins last week, leading many in the industry to speculate that the team would be aggressive in adding a starter in the upcoming days.
Colorado will always have trouble luring starters to hitter-friendly Coors Field, though the team has been relatively quiet this winter (despite signing Gerardo Parra to a 3-year deal) and could look to add a front-end rotation piece by outbidding other suitors. Gallardo is a ground-ball pitcher, so he may be more amenable to pitching at Coors than some other free-agent rotation options.