Without a new CBA in place, there is no reason for New York Yankees speculators to run their wildest fake trades before Nov. 15.
At least wait until Thanksgiving to chuck last summer’s first major trade acquisition off the roster in exchange for someone who’s almost certainly not available to the Bombers. Lots of dead air coming. We can’t be using our best — and craziest — material before the winter meetings.
In this day and age, though, we’re not exactly sure if this is how the Yanks plan to use Joey Gallo, after only two months of his services in exchange for four mid-range prospects.
Reminder: Even though he struck out all the damn time, Gallo was worth 4.6 WAR last year and ripped 13 bombs in 58 games with the Yankees.
Even if you weren’t enamored with his style of play, you have to admit it doesn’t make a lot of sense to cut bait after just two months — especially if the only thing you’d get back is an erratic ace-type on the other side in Aaron Nola.
Also, why would the Phillies do this? One of their three semi-trustworthy arms in exchange for someone who’s not exactly a sure thing coming off 2021’s pennant race?
No, the Yankees and Phillies are not trading Joey Gallo and Aaron Nola.
Has it been that long since most of you actually checked out Aaron Nola? Because, if he were free, we’d consider him for high-upside pitching depth. But sacrificing offense of any kind just to obtain him, after the 2021 season we just experienced in the Bronx?
Signed through 2022 with a team option for 2023, Nola has never again reached the peak he hit in 2018 as a 25-year-old. That season, he posted a 2.37 ERA in 212.1 innings, whiffing 224 men with his knee-buckling curveball and charting in the MVP race (13th!) as well as the Cy Young picture (third, much better).
2021 may well have been his oddest attempt to replicate the magic. Despite a career-worst 4.63 ERA, Nola actually upped his strikeouts significantly (223 in 180.2 innings, a good show of his durability after the shortened 2020) and posted a 3.37 FIP, still slightly behind his underlying metrics from ’18 (3.01) but much closer.
This is a results-driven business, though, and Nola has been susceptible to the home run ball in recent years (27 and 26 in 2019 and 2021 after 17 and 18 in ’17 and ’18), a trend that likely won’t reverse itself at Yankee Stadium. Nola’s bread and butter is also a snapdragon curveball, which would be a new challenge for Matt Blake and doesn’t exactly fall into the wheelhouse of arsenals we’ve seen him emphasize.
Nola was also, uh, a major and defiant part of Philly’s midsummer 2021 COVID outbreak, an issue that hopefully will not still be affecting baseball seasons by 2022, but … probably will be.
All in all, if we had the chance to acquire Nola, we’d consider it, but we’d much rather surrender pitching prospects and lower-level offensive talent. We understand why fans might want to throw Gallo to the woodshed after two strange months, but would be shocked if the Yankees operated that way — and if the Phillies were busting down their door to acquire one single season of the slugger’s services.