Will Joey Gallo be the Texas Rangers' right fielder in 2015? Jim Bowden apparently thinks so...
Bowden has a column at ESPN that looks at various position players who could get traded by the deadline, and the only Ranger player he lists is Alex Rios. While folks have talked about the possibility of Adrian Beltre or Elvis Andrus getting dealt, I would be surprised if either of them were moved, while Rios getting traded wouldn't surprise me. Bowden puts that likelihood of that happening at 65%, but his rationale for Rios getting dealt is interesting:
The Rangers think power-hitting prospect Joey Gallo could play right field in 2015, but for that to happen, they need to move Rios
That is not something I would have expected to have read. Gallo, of course, is having an outstanding season...the 20 year old started the year as one of the youngest players in the high-A Carolina League, and destroyed opposing pitching, putting up a .323/.463/.735 line in 246 plate appearances. That earned him a promotion to Frisco, where he is one of the youngest players in AA, and so far, he has hit for a .255/.375/.660 line, albeit with 23 strikeouts in 56 plate appearances.
Gallo is currently a third baseman, and while there was talk when he was first drafted that he would have to move to right field or first base, he's reportedly improved enough that staying at the hot corner would be realistic. My thought has been that, if Gallo is fast-tracked, then he starts the 2015 season in AAA, and in August or September, gets a look at the major league level.
If Bowden is right, and the Rangers think he could be an option as the club's right fielder in 2015, that certainly changes things. It means the club wouldn't be forced to choose between paying Alex Rios $13.5 million or rolling with currently-drowning-in-the-big-leagues Michael Choice for right field in 2015, and it gives them more flexibility in terms of payroll and their ability to potentially use Choice in a part-time role as a DH and fourth outfielder.
That seems like an extremely aggressive timetable, however, for Gallo, particularly given everything we've heard from the people who cover the team, who have been saying Gallo's ETA is September, 2015 at the earliest.
I'm not sure how much weight to put on this, whether it is Bowden having bad information, running with an "if everything goes great, maybe" scenario, or if this is legitimately something the club could do. But having Gallo in the mix for the 2015 outfielder would definitely change how we'd be looking at this offseason.