If The Yankees Add Anyone, It Should Be Max Kepler – Not Joey Gallo

Yankees: Max Kepler a better target than Joey Gallo

The Yankees should be sellers, but if they insist on adding a position player, Kepler should get the nod over Gallo – and here’s why…

Joey Gallo - "Oops, missed another one".
Joey Gallo – “Oops, missed another one.”

The Yankees, as much as they should be in a fire sale mode at Friday’s trade deadline, have their hands tied with a bunch of hard-to-sell players.

So, let’s assume two things. First, the Yankees are not throwing in the towel on the 2021 season, and second, if that’s true, they need an impact left-handed bat that has the potential to make a difference.

The name floated every thirty seconds on MLB Trade Rumors, and other sources is Joey Gallo. Gallo qualifies as a power left-handed bat who is built to pepper the short porch at Yankees Stadium.

He also qualifies as a player who is not only a rental, but he has a year remaining before he reaches free agency after the 2022 season.

Yankees: Look Before You Leap

There is, however, a more attractive player whose name has only recently surfaced from the Minnesota Twins probable fire sale, and that’s Max Kepler. (today’s featured image)

Kepler hardly carries all the “juice” of a Joey Gallo acquisition, but hold on, let’s look at what he brings to the Yankees.

To begin, and this is important to a team like the Yankees in a constant battle with the luxury tax, Max Kepler is under contract through 2023 for $15 million, with a team option of only $10 million for the third season in 2024.

Now, who is Max Kepler, because if you are like me, you’ve never heard of him?

Max Kepler is one of those on a spiraling trajectory from 2016-2019, highlighted by a 2019 season when he hit 36 home runs while driving in 90, with only 99 strikeouts in 600 plate appearances, a marked contrast to Gallo.

Brian Cashman: Decisions in unknown territory
Brian Cashman: Decisions in unknown territory

Only 28, Kepler is an outfielder who has collected three times more assists than errors 33-11) during his seven years with the Minnesota Twins.

Kepler’s .220, 13 hr, 38 RBI totals in 2021 knock him down a peg, but that should simply make it easier for Brian Cashman to work up a deal that sends Clint Frazier and Luke Voit, two pieces that fit the Twins perfectly, in exchange for Kepler, and ridding the Yankees of two pieces of deadwood at the same time, is a win-win.

It’s a given, the deal won’t make the same headlines like the one for Joey Gallo, but the overall return makes sense for the Yankees.

Yankees: If They Must Go This Way…

To reiterate, and don’t jump to conclusions here, because as I’ve said a dozen times before, the Yankees should be in rebuilding (or as Brian Cashman might say a “re-tooling”) mode at the trade deadline, and not interested in catching lightning in a bottle to salvage a wayward season.

Yankees Mets potential trade target Jose Berrios
Yankees Mets potential trade target Jose Berrios

But if the Yankees must satisfy the old guard still believing this is a championship team, then adding Max Kapler does no harm and certainly adds to the Yankees’ roster moving forward.

A better deal for Cashman and the Yankees lurks in the background with the addition of starting pitcher Jose Berrios added to Kepler in what would amount to a blockbuster trade that captures the attention of baseball at Friday’s trade deadline.

While tempted to do so, this would mean Brian Cashman does not delve into the Yankee’s farm system as he is prone to do, but that he will need to surrender a player or two currently on the Yankees 26-man active roster.

This, in turn, means the Yankees could be faced with surrendering a values player like Gio Urshela, or possibly even Gleyber Torres, to secure Berrios.

But for now, the attention seems to be exclusively focused on Max Kepler, with reports coming from multiple sources that The Twins have had preliminary trade discussions involving outfielder Max Kepler, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. Last week Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the Yankees are among the clubs to inquire about Kepler.

If the Yankees intend to add talent at this point in the 2021 season, then Kepler should get the nod over Gallo…

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Mitch Bondo Bandalan Max Kepler for Fraizer and Voit? Are you serious? That’s a horrible trade. Although I don’t like Gallos BA, he plays the positions that the Yankees could use backups for. LF, 3rd, and 1B. You could get Gallo for Fraizer and prospects if we use Adam Frazier’s deal at a marker.

Robert Chigi Under no circumstances would I want Gallo. There are too many swing-and-miss players on this roster!

Jim Schiavo Sr. They should be sellers, especially somehow someway getting rid of Stanton’s contract, another amongst many that Cashman has saddled the Yankees with! Next Year, everything changes when the NL DH comes in, with 15 more landing spots for Stanton.

John Carbone Yankees just traded Park and another prospect for a relief pitcher with a 4.50 ERA? That’s part of the puzzle too, but here we go again trading off prospects!

Jim Schiavo Sr. It’s a joke that he’s has magical trading skills, the Yankees haven’t won since2009, look at some of the bad trades and signings he has done, most recent the Stanton contract is a disaster, $29 million dollars this year for a one-dimensional streaky player: 2009 is a long time ago!

James Weck Kepler is not making a difference to this year’s team. Should have added – or anyone else.

Steven Rosario They should absolutely be sellers. There’s no fix in sight for the relief issues so they’re going to continue to lose division games.

Tony Rinaldi Jr. We need a solid lead-off man with speed. I’m not sure who is available but a threat on the bases is something they don’t have. In fact, their baserunning has been abysmal. We need someone who can take the pitcher’s concentration, give them something else to worry about other than the guy at the plate.

On the pitching side, they could use a starter who can go past 5 innings. Someone who can stay in the game long enough to go to the closer. Can’t have to constantly go to the bullpen after a couple of innings.
Here is where the big dilemma is. Is Chapman reliable? If they do make the postseason can he be counted on to close games without blowing them? Do they shop him for another closer and would anyone want him?

Closing Published Comments And Final Thoughts

Due to page length restrictions, with this, we’ll close published comments.

Yankees fans remain perplexed and at odds with the direction the Yankees should go at this juncture. By Friday, we’ll know.

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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.