Midseason, the Yankees had a desperate need to find a left-handed power bat. In came yet another deer in the headlights misfit, Joey Gallo…
The Yankees look at the same stats as other teams when deciding whether or not to acquire a player via trade or as a free agent signee.
But the one thing the Yankees cannot know is if a player has what it takes to play in New York. They sometimes find a player (think Reggie Jackson) who was born to wear the pinstripes, and he thrives in the spotlight.
But, occasionally, while everything looks good on paper, the Yankees guess wrong with a player, and the results are disastrous for both the player and the team.
This is Joey Gallo, who, if you didn’t know better, you would think he was born and raised in the Bronx, along with the other Frankie’s, Jimmie’s, and Louie’s, and with their last name ending with a vowel.
You would think that – but you would be wrong.
Yankees: An Experiment Gone Wrong
According to Baseball-Reference, Joey Gallo hit 13 home runs for the Yankees. Still, only seven of them came at Yankees Stadium, producing only 12 RBI in the Yankees home ballpark, indicating a tendency to blast a shot with no one on base.
His 48 strikeouts and 19 walks in 112 at-bats, together with a .194 BA with the Yankees, fall in line with his overall .199 BA and league-leading 111 BB and 213 strikeouts.
That much the Yankees knew when they arranged a trade with the Texas Rangers for Gallo and cash in return for four minor league prospects.
They didn’t know and couldn’t predict Gallo’s dismal failure to produce in the Yankees lineup behind Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, and how Aaron Boone would need to struggle to find someone to hit behind Gallo to pick the team up by keeping a rally going.
A reader sent me an observation on a recent story that caused me to think a bit. He said that Gallo looked frightened, and at times he thought Gallo was going “to go nuts.”
An exaggeration, probably, but if you observed Gallo during the Yankees wild card game at Fenway, there was something “off” about his 0-4 and one strikeout performance.
Joey Gallo: A Deer In the Headlights
As Gallo did for seven years as a 1st Round pick in 2012, playing for the Rangers was a far different experience than playing for the Yankees.
Having lived in Dallas for six years, I recall how the Rangers were called “The Strangers” in a metroplex that belonged to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Rangers were an afterthought, and on most nights, there were more cars in the parking lot of Six Flags across the street than at Arlington Stadium.
Joey Gallo arrived on the scene after that, but not much has changed since then, save for not one but two brand new state-of-the-art ballparks built for the Rangers, thanks to an ever-burgeoning economy.
Yankees 2022 – Gallo Options
Fast forward to today as the Yankees prepare for 2022 , and where one of the question marks has to be Joey Gallo, what does the future hold for both the Yankees and Gallo?
Gallo carried a salary of $6,500,000 last year, a bargain these days for any team. Eligible for arbitration, regardless of what the Yankees offer him, Gallo will not be a big hit on team payroll.
In 2023, Gallo becomes a free agent, and unless he comes up with a career season, it does not figure the Yankees will seek to retain the slugger.
Is Gallo tradeable? Probably, but if the Yankees go that route, they can’t be asking for a lot in return, though Gallo’s salary will be attractive to mid-sized market teams looking for a power bat.
By now, the Yankees should agree with the assessment that although they didn’t make a “mistake” with Gallo, he is not a fit for the team the Yankees should be fielding for 2022.
A lot depends on a series of moves the Yankees are expected to and hopefully will make to bring in proven major league hitters, who possess fundamental skills with an accent on situational hitting.
Surely, Gallo does not fit that profile, but with one or two players added, he could still be a fit for the Yankees in the six or seven-hole in their lineup.
Gallo’s skills in the outfield are well known, and if the Yankees do trade him, it means they need a replacement, assuming that Brett Gardner retires or is not resigned.
Yankees: Nice Try But A Swing And A Miss
In July, Joey Gallo checked all the boxes for what the Yankees were looking for – but today – not so much.
Joey Gallo is what he is, and after seven big league seasons, he is not likely to change from being a home run threat who will draw a ton of walks, striking out in even more at-bats, and providing good defense in the field.
Gallo is not at the top of the Yankees’ “move list,” and they will probably wait to see how the rest of their roster fills out before weighing their options on Gallo.
Fifty-fifty say the odds that Joey Gallo will be wearing a Yankees’ uniform on Opening Day 2022, and by July, those odds will increase considerably that he will be traded at the trade deadline.
Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose…