Serious question! We’re not being facetious. We just need clarity on why the New York Yankees thought it’d be a good idea to trade four players for a guy who’s going to mostly play out of position. Fair thing to be inquisitive about, no?
When Joey Gallo was acquired at the July trade deadline, most Yankees fans thought center field help would be on the way. After all, New York was playing Brett Gardner, Tyler Wade, Estevan Florial, Jonathan Davis, Greg Allen, Tim Locastro, and even Aaron Judge at the position after Aaron Hicks went down for the year.
There was no stability or consistency at one of the most important positions on the field. Gallo, who’s a versatile defender, does his best work in right field, which was another reason this acquisition was a tad head-scratching, but in 2018 and 2019 he proved he was also a capable center fielder. We’ll get more into that in a moment.
In the end, though, Gallo didn’t play a single inning for the Bombers in center, and instead logged most of his time at (seemingly) the weakest of the three positions he’s most recently played: left field.
Again, at the time of the acquisition, we believed Gallo would slot into center with Aaron Judge in right and Giancarlo Stanton in left (when he was available to play defense) to give us a behemoth of an outfield.
Throw in Luke Voit at DH and we’re talking about the best lineup in the AL. Right? RIGHT?!
What was the Yankees’ end game in trading for Joey Gallo?
Gallo is one of the league leaders in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) since the start of 2020, with most of that production coming in right field. Let’s look at the numbers:
- Right field: 1,349.1 career innings (29 DRS)
- Center field: 410.2 career innings (4 DRS)
- Left field: 1,583.1 career innings (6 DRS)
He’s not sniffing right field unless Judge is injured, getting rest, or DHing. So explain to us why he’s not at least splitting time between the other two spots when it’s clear he has the potential to be a game changer in center? In nearly 1/4 of the innings, he has two fewer DRS in center than he does in left.
And since there’s no definitive answer for center field heading into 2022 at the moment (with no viable/desirable options currently available after Starling Marte signed with the Mets), why aren’t we talking more about a Gallo/Hicks platoon in center and a Gallo/Stanton platoon in left with everyone rotating in at DH?
Gallo’s set to make over $10 million in 2022 and his bat is truly nothing unique in this lineup that’s already full of homer run hitters. In fact, he might be the worst of the bunch since he can’t hit for average or put the ball in play with runners in scoring position (.200 career average in that department with only 29 of his 158 career homers coming with RISP)?
Maybe the Yankees realized they screwed up and that’s why they were reportedly fielding trade calls on Gallo earlier in the offseason? If that’s not going to happen, he needs to be maximized on both sides of the ball, and putting him in left field for the majority of his innings certainly doesn’t do that.