What did the Yankees need? Really need? The lineup wasn’t hitting for enough power, lacked a real impact from the left side, and needed better defense.
Yankees fans, meet Joey Gallo, who checks all those boxes. The Bombers added another big bat to their lineup on Wednesday night when they reportedly came to terms with the Rangers on a six-player deal for Gallo and reliever Joely Rodríguez. Whenever Gallo plays his first game for New York — hopefully tomorrow — he will be the club leader in home runs, on base percentage, fWAR, and second on the team in Outs Above Average.
Gallo was always one of the Yankees’ top targets, going back to the winter, because he just fits this team so well. Folks have written about the lineup’s right-handed dominance to death, but they now have one of the five or so most powerful lefty hitters in baseball ready to plug in.
Also, Gallo is a Gold Glove winner, which, take that for what you will, the stats back up how great he’s been in the outfield. He’s even robbed a home run on the field at Yankee Stadium, taking one away from Austin Romine in 2018:
Both left and center field have been absolute black holes for the Yankees this year, and Gallo is a bright star taking over.
The best part of acquiring Gallo is that he’s not a rental. Let’s not be pollyannas here — the Yankees are going to need to play better in the season’s final two months than they have through July to simply be a Wild Card team, much less making any real division run. If they’re in that Wild Card Game, with Gerrit Cole on the hill, then there’s a good chance that One Big Hit wins that game. And Gallo’s raw power makes him the kind of guy that can deliver that one big hit.
But let’s say this is a worst case scenario season, and the Yankees don’t make the playoffs. That means they get to bring Gallo back next year — he’s not a free agent until the end of that season — and pencil him into the 3-hole in the lineup for 162 games. There are worse places to be in April 2022.
Joey Gallo is a perfect fit for this club, and certainly for their home ballpark. The Yankees added as much power as there is in baseball, and a plus-plus defender in the outfield. They did it without going over the precious CBT threshold and without giving up their most valuable prospects.*
*None of the reports have indicated anything about a Jasson Dominguez, an Anthony Volpe, or anyone of that regard heading to Texas. Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith are top-10 prospects by Baseball America’s standards, but while they’re good, they’re expendable for a guy like Gallo.
Is it too much to ask for Gallo to pinch-hit tonight?