UPDATE: Brewers agree to long-term contract with Yovani Gallardo
UPDATE: Gallardo gets a five-year deal (including 2010) with a sixth-year team option, so the Brewers potentially bought out his first two seasons of free agency. 11:45 AM ET: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Brewers “are believed to be closing in on contract extension” with Opening Day starter Yovani Gallardo. Milwaukee has scheduled a press conference for this afternoon, presumably to announce the deal with Gallardo, who will be arbitration eligible for the first time next season and has three more years remaining under team control. After missing most of 2008 with an ACL team in his right knee, Gallardo won 13 games with a 3.73 ERA and 204 strikeouts in 185.2 innings as a 23-year-old last season. His control was shaky with the second-most walks in the league at 94, but he also ranked second in strikeout rate and held opponents to a .219 batting average. Gallardo had good control in the minors and walked just 45 batters in 134.1 innings before suffering the knee injury, so at age 24 he seems likely to take a big step forward this season. In other words, if the Brewers can pre-pay for his arbitration years and buy out a year or two of free agency before his value rises they’ll have taken a very smart risk.