Count left fielder Ryan Braun among the Brewers fans happy to see the team lock-up Yovani Gallardo on Thursday.
“I think it’s great for the city to know that we’re going to have our ace to build around for the next five years,” Braun said.
Gallardo’s new five year contract runs through 2014 and buys out one of his would-be free agent seasons. It also includes a club option for 2015.
That puts him right in line with Braun, who signed a seven-year extension in 2008 that runs through 2015.
“I’m excited,” Braun said. “First and foremost, I’m excited for Yovani. He deserves it, and I know that the financial security is a great thing. That’s something I can relate to. I’m excited to be with him for at least the next five years.”
It’s no secret that Braun and the rest of the Brewers would like to see another player join the long-term party. But Braun downplayed the possible impact Gallardo’s signing could have on the team’s ongoing discussion with first baseman Prince Fielder, whose situation is completely different because he is less than two years shy of free agency.
Gallardo, for contrast, was four years shy before he signed his new contract. Braun was six years short when he inked his deal.
“I don’t think it really relates to Prince too much,” Braun said. “But if Prince does stay on, he wants to know we’re going to have a good team, and knowing that Yovani and I are going to be here for the next five years, it should give him some peace of mind that we should at least be competitive.”
Braun knew that the team was in talks with Gallardo but didn’t learn a deal was done until it was announced on Thursday afternoon.
His own negotiation was similarly quiet. Braun’s agent, Nez Balelo, handled talks with the Brewers with little fanfare before a deal was announced one morning in May 2008.
“It makes a lot of sense for [Gallardo] and it will make a lot of sense for the team is he continues to be this good,” Braun said. “It provides some cost certainty for them and they’ll probably save some money in the long run.
“I do think it’s a trend. Teams have to come early, obviously, because the closer you get to free agency or arbitration, the harder it is to give up those years at what looks like a discounted price. But for players, that financial security is tough to give up. I think it makes a lot of sense for the player, and for the team you get some cost certainty but you’re also taking a risk. You have to believe in the guy and his work ethic.”
That’s why club executives speak often of only doing extensions with the “right” player. Braun is pretty sure that Gallardo falls into that group.
“They don’t get any better than him,” Braun said. “His poise, his composure, his personality. You can’t ask for more in a pitcher.”