Ranking Yankees' Joey Gallo's Potential Landing Spots Amid Trade Rumors
For the second time in as many seasons, Joey Gallo could be on the move ahead of Major League Baseball's trade deadline.
It hasn't even been a year since they acquired Gallo from the Texas Rangers on July 29, 2021, yet Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that the American League East-leading New York Yankees are "conducting discussions" about the 28-year-old corner outfielder with other teams as the Aug. 2 trade deadline looms.
Whereas Gallo came to New York with a .497 career slugging percentage, he's slugged only .372 while batting an unseemly .163 through 128 contests in pinstripes. He also hasn't lived up to his reputation as a two-time Gold Glover, posting zero defensive runs saved in 2022.
Because Gallo is set to become a free agent at the end of the year, the Yankees won't be able to recoup anything like the four-prospect package they paid for him last year. If anything, they might have to cover some of the money remaining on his $10.3 million salary just to get a low-level prospect.
From the perspective of rival teams, this could make Gallo the ultimate buy-low candidate. He could be a major difference-maker for a team's playoff hopes if a change of scenery were to revive his defense and power, the latter of which remains prodigious.
Heyman mentioned two teams that might be "willing to consider" a Gallo trade. With consideration paid to how much sense they make for him and as a trading partner for the Yankees, let's rank those two and other speculative landing spots for the slugger.
10-6: AL East Foes, Mariners, Giants, Brewers, Cardinals
10. Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays
Though each of these three clubs could use help in right field and/or some power from the left side of the plate, it's not so easy to imagine the Yankees letting one of their AL East competitors be the one to roll the dice on Gallo.
9. Seattle Mariners
This is only in the event that Mitch Haniger's pending return from a high ankle sprain is short-lived, in which case the Mariners could possibly turn to Gallo as a stopgap solution for their quest to snap their 21-year playoff drought.
8. San Francisco Giants
Both offensively and especially defensively, the '22 Giants hardly resemble the juggernaut that won 107 games in 2021. Gallo could boost them on both sides of the ball, though the catch is that their everyday lineup already leans left-handed.
7. Milwaukee Brewers
With Lorenzo Cain having been designated for assignment and Hunter Renfroe out with a strained calf, the Brewers are short-handed in the outfield. They could also just plain use another hitter. Ideally, though, said hitter would be more of a true center fielder.
6. St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals might simply wait for outfielders Tyler O'Neill (wrist contusion) and Harrison Bader (plantar fasciitis) to recover from injuries. But with the club having hit only three home runs in its last eight games, its need for Gallo's sort of power is indeed immediate.
5. Chicago White Sox
After they won the AL Central on the strength of a 93-69 record in 2021, much has gone wrong for the Chicago White Sox as they've gotten off to a 41-44 start this season.
Above all, the White Sox have been hit about as hard as anyone by the injury bug. But if it's a question of where they specifically need to upgrade if they want to catch up in this year's AL Central race, two things stand out:
If they decide to take a shot on Gallo, the White Sox would stand to nail two proverbial birds with a single stone. He's even typically hit well at Guaranteed Rate Field, where his .843 OPS is his sixth-best among parks where he's taken at least 60 plate appearances.
Yet even setting aside whatever trepidation the Yankees might have about sending Gallo to a fellow American League contender, this idea comes with another complication.
The defining feature of the White Sox's current offense is its tendency to expand the strike zone. Gallo doesn't do a whole lot of that on his own, to be sure, but adding a guy who nonetheless routinely threatens a 40 percent strikeout rate wouldn't be ideal for Chicago.
4. Cleveland Guardians
Elsewhere in the AL Central, the Cleveland Guardians are barely outpacing the White Sox with a record of 42-42.
Cleveland's offense is actually halfway decent, placing just above the league average in scoring at 4.4 runs per game. Yet this is in spite of extremely sporadic power, as only the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers have hit fewer home runs than the Guardians' 66.
Where they could use a power boost the most isn't much of a secret at this point. Their outfielders have produced just a .350 slugging percentage and 11 home runs, both of which rank among the dregs of MLB.
Further, Cleveland's offense could probably abide Gallo's strikeouts better than that of the White Sox. Notably, the team has the lowest strikeout rate in the league even despite the abysmal 40.5 strikeout percentage that Franmil Reyes has put up.
The bigger holdup here may concern the financials. So low is the Guardians' payroll that even taking on half of Gallo's $10.3 million salary would make him their third-most expensive player after third baseman Jose Ramirez and ace Shane Bieber.
3. Miami Marlins
Right now, the big question is which direction the Miami Marlins will go in at the trade deadline.
According to Barry Jackson and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald, general manager Kim Ng hinted that the club would have to be "within striking distance" in order to act as buyers. As the team has won eight of 12 to creep to within four games of the third wild-card spot in the National League, it would seem to be in that kind of territory.
If so, a right fielder must be at the top of Ng's wish list.
The position ranks dead-last in the majors with an output of minus-0.4 rWAR, which speaks to both offensive and defensive struggles. Marlins right fielders are managing a meager .593 OPS and have accounted for zero defensive runs saved.
In the sense that they're a young team on the rise and not a veteran club trying to live up to decades upon decades of storied history, the Marlins would also offer Gallo a much different environment than the one he's in right now. It could be just what he needs for a fresh start.
2. Texas Rangers
When the Rangers traded Gallo to the Yankees last year, it was hardly a happy occasion for president of baseball operations Jon Daniels.
“We traded a very good baseball player and a really good person,” he said upon completing the deal.
Daniels presumably didn't expect to have a chance of reacquiring Gallo in just a year's time when he spoke those words, yet that's the position he finds himself in now. And according to Heyman, Daniels' Rangers are indeed a possible player in the sweepstakes.
With Kole Calhoun in right field, the Rangers have a solid regular in what used to be Gallo's old stomping grounds at Globe Life Field. But there's a great big black hole in left field, where the Rangers have gotten a .494 OPS and minus-0.6 rWAR.
If Gallo were to return to Arlington, either he or Calhoun could be the guy to fill that void. It could be just the spark the Rangers, who are 40-44 right now, need to move from the outskirts to the middle of the American League wild-card race.
1. San Diego Padres
If Daniels doesn't push for Gallo, one of his former lieutenants just might.
As Heyman reported, the San Diego Padres are the other team that could consider a run at the slugger. Their general manager is A.J. Preller, who worked under Daniels when the Rangers drafted Gallo in 2012 and subsequently developed him into a star.
Though the Los Angeles Dodgers have pulled away from the Padres of late in the NL West, the Friars are still in the thick of the National League playoff picture at 50-38. To this extent, at least, they could be more likely to make an aggressive play for Gallo than the Rangers.
Given the seriousness of these problems, Preller could potentially keep Gallo on his radar even if Jurickson Profar (concussion) and Wil Myers (knee inflammation) make strong returns from injuries in the coming weeks.