We take no joy in doing this. Any piece of negative content that has to be written about the New York Yankees leaves a scar rather than provides a sense of liberation or satisfaction.
About a month ago, there was nothing we could do but wonder when we could start worrying about/questioning the Joey Gallo trade. Now, we’re 54 games in and we truly don’t see any of the benefits of surrendering four prospects for him, even if they were guys the Yankees needed to get rid of for 40-man purposes. Could’ve traded for someone else!
Gallo is slashing .157/.304/.416 (that’s good for a .720 OPS) with 31 runs scored, 13 home runs and 21 RBI. And his defense hasn’t been particularly sharp, which was the whole point of acquiring a “Gold Glove” outfielder. It’s all just not good enough.
Then, on Wednesday night, he was hit by a pitch on the hand and exited the game. Theoretically, he’s “day to day,” but didn’t start on Thursday in the latest edition of the “game of the year”.
After being worth a 2.9 oWAR and 0.9 dWAR during the first half with the Texas Rangers, Gallo’s seen those numbers plummet to 0.4 and -0.1 with the Yankees. Again, nobody was asking the guy to come to the Bronx and immediately start hitting homers onto the subway, but somehow he provides hardly any advantage against right-handed pitchers (his splits against lefties are nearly identical), quite literally does nothing in high-leverage situations (.141 average and .646 OPS) and with runners in scoring position (.155 average and .756 OPS), and has struck out an impossible 84 times in 54 games. His OPS+ is 96, which is 4% below average.
And like we said … the defense:
That cost the Yankees a run on Wednesday night, and then they lost by a run. You saw what happened at Fenway Park, too. He dropped that easy pop up to cost the Yankees the lead (though they eventually won). In that same inning against the Red Sox, he caught a sac fly on the warning track with runners on the corners, and instead of trying to keep the runner from tagging up to second base, he threw the ball home when he had no chance of preventing the run from scoring.
His first reads on balls have been shaky. His throws haven’t entirely been accurate. His decision-making seems to be frantic. It could be the New York jitters, but it still doesn’t make sense because he was merely brought in to be a supporting cast member. At the time of his acquisition, there didn’t seem to be high expectations or pressure.
If he can’t handle being a Tier 2 player on this roster, then what’s his role? Just another “name” and “slugger” in this lineup? It’s not fooling anybody. Pitchers, for the most part, aren’t scared of the Yankees outside of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Teams have attacked just about every other hitter in this lineup with great success.
And Gallo’s been an obvious victim. The fact he can’t benefit from the collection of sluggers around him is problematic — not just for this year, either, because he’s here for 2022 and won’t be cheap once he gets a raise (he made $6.2 million in 2021) for his final year of arbitration eligibility.