3. Joey Gallo
You’d think Joey Gallo would be No. 1 on this list, but he’s played for the Yankees for two months, so let’s relax. Now, we’d be shocked if we saw anything close to what he did in the Bronx from July-October, but we’re also not going to discount any regression, no matter how confounding.
Gallo’s inability to hit strikes over the middle of the plate did him in, so we have to chalk that up to bad luck or nerves due to a chance of scenery. There’s no way he can be that ineffective again surrounded by so many good hitters.
At the time, he was acquired to balance out the lineup with a lefty bat. It just so happened he had light tower power, too, which was a plus. Oh, and he’s versatile defensively?! How was this not the perfect fit?
But then came just 13 homers and 22 RBI in 58 games (along with a .160 average and 88 strikeouts!). Just about the worst you could do. If he was only “bad” instead of “unwatchable,” who knows how many more games the Yankees would’ve won. Three? Four? Would’ve made a big difference.
That’s why his return to form (ish) in 2022 is so important. The Yankees traded a lot of prospects for him and he’s here for one more season at $10.2 million. This was another attempt at a cost-effective move, because any time you’re paying a shade under $14 million for 1.5 years of a guy who can hit 40 home runs and play multiple outfield positions, this should be a steal.
The Yankees probably aren’t even asking Gallo to be a middle-of-the-lineup presence. If he can merely lengthen this lineup, hit ~30 homers, work walks, and hit over .200, that elevates the Yankees considerably. He just can’t be disastrous beyond explanation.