MLB Trade Rumors: Joey Gallo of the New York Yankees is on the block, and the Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres are among the teams “thought willing to consider” acquiring the slugger, per Jon Heyman.
The Yankees are lapping the field in the American League East right now, and while they do not have a lot of needs, they are looking to shore up holes and solidify themselves for October. Heyman’s piece talks about the Yankees inquiring on Kansas City Royals left fielder Andrew Benintendi, who is having a very good year, and who, like Gallo, is a free agent after 2022.
Gallo, meanwhile, has struggled since joining the Yankees last July in the deal that brought Ezequiel Duran, Josh Smith, Glenn Otto and Trevor Hauver to the Rangers. Gallo is slashing .163/.295/.372 as a Yankee while putting up a 0.6 bWAR in 468 plate appearances, and has become an object of derision with Yankees fans while seeing his playing time dwindle. The Yankees may well be getting to the point where they do not feel Gallo is going to turn things around in New York, in which case they would want to find someone else to play the outfield come playoff time. If that is the case, then Gallo has no role on the team, and it makes sense for the Yankees to move him for whatever they can get.
A.J. Preller has been collecting former top Rangers prospect in San Diego — Nomar Mazara, Jorge Alfaro, and Jurickson Profar are all playing for the Padres currently — and picking up Gallo on the cheap to see if he turns it around outside of Gotham would make sense, given the lack of production they’ve had from the outfield so far this season. The Padres were rumored for much of 2020 and 2021 to be pursuing Gallo from the Rangers, with rumbles of a deal centered around Eric Hosmer (and his bad contract) and Robert Hassell never really going away until the Rangers pulled the trigger on the Yankee deal.
However, for us, the possibility of Gallo returning to Texas is much more interesting. Yes, it seems not real likely, but it isn’t as if we haven’t fantasized about this before — from the time Gallo was dealt to New York, we talked about the possibility of bringing him back if he stumbled for the Yankees. Texas offered Gallo a contract extension that, at the time, was criticized by some folks here as being insulting (though in retrospect is likely more than Gallo is looking at landing this offseason), and the organization clearly valued him.
Plus, with Mitch Garver heading to the injured list, there’s a hole in the lineup that doesn’t have a real obvious and easy solution. Yes, there’s talk about calling up Sam Huff, though whether he’s a good fit for the role, and whether his development would be better off spending more time catching in AAA than DHing in Texas, is an open question. But if you went and got Gallo, you could rotate him Garcia and Calhoun in the outfield and DH spots, using Leody Taveras in center field regularly and Brad Miller occasionally.
Think of a top of the lineup that went:
Admit it, that looks sexual.
This assumes, of course, that Gallo hits like the Gallo of old if he returned to Texas, and I acknowledge that’s not a given. That said, Gallo didn’t want to leave Texas in the first place, and its hard to imagine a worse spot for him to have landed than with the Yankees. Heyman says in his article, “[t]here is some thought around the league that an exit from New York would benefit Gallo,” and I’d say that’s a pretty big understatement.
Obviously, you aren’t going to give up much to get Gallo at this point, if you are the Rangers — I’ve suggested sending Hauver back to New York would be sufficient — so the risk is low. But if you can get Gallo back and get him mashing, it makes the Rangers lineup much more potent, and it would enhance the Rangers (admittedly slim) odds of being a serious part of the playoff race.
And if Gallo came back this month and started mashing again, it might lead to the parties figuring out a way to keep Gallo around beyond 2022, which I’d be all about.