The New York Yankees need left-handed bats, a fact known to every follower of the great game of baseball, but one that was illuminated this week when several MLB insiders made it known that the Bombers would be scouring the trade market.
Only for budgetary fits, though.
Let’s see. Lefty bat, plus power, playing for a middling-to-tanking team…every speculator came to the exact same conclusion, conveniently just in time to watch Joey Gallo take on the Yankees in Texas.
Fitting. All the ingredients to start this specific form of commotion fell into place perfectly.
“Gallo to the Yankees” has become such an obvious, surface-level narrative, though, that it now seems less likely to happen than ever before.
Yankee fans know how this works, after all. A certain subset of fans picks up on a trade target or free agent acquisition. The addition becomes gospel among those fans, and the idea starts spreading throughout the marketplace of ideas, where everyone has access to the same data and preexisting notions. Suddenly, you’re more likely to see Patrick Corbin in a photoshopped Yankee hat than a Diamondbacks cap.
Real fans also know those are never the moves that are actually made.
Will the Yankees really be able to get Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers?
Gallo would be an extremely polarizing acquisition for the Yankees in that he’d both represent a doubling down on the thematic troubles many fans have with the way this roster is constructed (“He swings and misses all the time!”) while also solving two of their core issues: a lack of left-handed power and defensive versatility.
As represented by the highlight above, Gallo has a cannon for an arm, and is a Gold Glove outfielder who can fill in more than capably in center field. Clint Frazier cannot do that. Aaron Judge cannot. Brett Gardner’s bat is too weak to play every day. Gallo would be able to rotate around the outfield, solve the lineup’s handedness malfunction and — oh yeah — hit absolute tanks into the second deck in right while also peppering the short porch with liners.
That said, there will be a loud faction of fans that ignores the exit velocity and hard hit profile, soured by years of disappointment with Giancarlo Stanton and, to a lesser extent, Judge. There will be fans who associate “high exit velocity” with strikeouts and hamstring soreness, and we may never be able to get through to those folks.
Gallo would be an excellent fit for the Yankees. He’s a player they’ve long admired. He comes at a reasonable cost, both financially and in terms of prospect capital.
Unlike Kyle Schwarber, another long-term Brian Cashman favorite who hit the market this offseason, he would slide under the luxury tax threshold and glide around the outfield, making above-average defensive plays.
Much like Corbin, Schwarber, Manny Machado, and a whole host of others, though, this move will not be realized. There will be too much competition, with other, more willing traders in need of the exact same type of slugging outfielder. This makes far too much sense to actually be completed.
Best to get your hopes down now rather than late July.