Yankees Rumors: Joey Gallo Trade Was Discussed with Padres in Offseason

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 21, 2022

TAMPA, FLORIDA - MARCH 30: Joey Gallo #13 of the New York Yankees looks on during a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays at George Steinbrenner Field on March 30, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The New York Yankees and San Diego Padres explored a trade involving Joey Gallo before the start of the 2022 MLB season, according to the New York Post's Jon Heyman.

Heyman reported the Bronx Bombers "are believed to have been seeking a return befitting his ability, not his recent achievements."

For the bulk of his career, Gallo has epitomized MLB's emphasis on three true outcomes. He has 158 home runs, a 36.9 percent strikeout rate and a 15.0 percent walk rate, per FanGraphs.

It looked like the 28-year-old was turning a corner in 2019, when he had a .253/.389/.598 slash line and reached his first All-Star Game.

Then he slugged .378 in the COVID-19 pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign before achieving Peak Joey Gallo by hitting 38 homers and leading the American League in strikeouts (213) and walks (111).

Acquiring Gallo from the Rangers made perfect sense for the Yankees. He was perfectly tailored to benefit from the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium. That's to say nothing of the defensive value he brings as a two-time Gold Glove winner.

Instead, the left-handed slugger is batting .154 and slugging .362 through 70 games with New York.

There may be deeper issues at play than simply letting Gallo rediscover his groove at the plate. Heyman cited a scout who said the Big Apple is a "challenge" for the two-time All-Star and "gets in his dome."

Gallo is eligible for free agency in the offseason, and it looks increasingly likely based on his performance the Yankees won't move heaven and earth to re-sign him. A trade makes the most sense for both parties, but that would also probably mean New York taking a loss on the whole thing.

Although it doesn't appear the front office was willing to do that in the offseason, general manager Brian Cashman might have little other choice if Gallo's hitting doesn't improve.