Joey Gallo has statistically been one of the worst players in baseball ever since the New York Yankees acquired him last July, and that’s not an exaggeration whatsoever.
When you factor in Gallo being surrounded by the best hitters/teammates he’s ever had alongside him in his career, it looks even worse. Then again, this is hardly all his fault.
The Yankees acquired Gallo for one reason and one reason only: they had a poorly constructed lineup with too few left-handed bats. Gallo is a carbon copy (yet worse version) of the boom-or-bust offensive mentality in New York. He strikes out way more than anybody else. He puts bat on ball far less than anybody else. And, somehow, he’s hit far fewer home runs than the team’s best sluggers! Go figure.
On top of all that, the Yankees are playing him out of position on defense. Gallo can play all three outfield spots, but he’s better as a right fielder (first) and center fielder (second). Most of outfield reps have come in left, but he hasn’t exactly been good there thus far in his Yankees tenure. He won a Gold Glove as a right fielder during the shortened 2020 and in 2021, as the Rangers primarily used him there the last two seasons. After finally getting acclimated to right, the Yankees acquired him and moved him to left, and have yet to use him for a SINGLE INNING in center field despite a clear need to do so.
Across 69 games with the Bombers, Gallo is batting .154 with a .658 OPS. He has 13 homers and 22 RBI … with ZERO of those coming in 2022. He’s struck out 103 times in 267 plate appearances. He literally cannot hit center-cut fastballs. And he’s been good for a negative dWAR.
So might this go down as one of the worst trade acquisitions in Yankees franchise history? It’s really not out of the question.
Is Joey Gallo going to be one of the worst trade acquisitions in Yankees history?
The reason it would be “one of the worst” isn’t because of what the Yankees gave up … it’d be because they were expecting so much more from Gallo and aren’t getting anything from him.
When the Yankees traded Glenn Otto, Ezequiel Duran, Josh Smith and Trevor Hauver to the Rangers, fans didn’t really bat an eye. New York has better prospects at each of those positions and were slated to lose a few in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft (that never even happened, by the way). The swap was hardly a loss from a personnel standpoint.
The only “loss” for the Yankees is Gallo negatively impacting the team, which is how this can all go south if he continues on this trajectory throughout 2022.
And the crazy part is that we have no real-world, tangible indication of his play turning around. The high EV outs will always be there and have always been there. He’s not making contact. That’s really the main sticking point.
Since arriving in Texas, all of Hauver, Duran, Otto and Smith have fallen short of expectations while the Yankees’ system has excelled, so the return package is kind of a moot point right now.
This deal will be viewed in the lens of: “Did Joey Gallo do enough to elevate the Yankees?” Unfortunately, he hasn’t, and he’s been unwatchable from a production/enjoyment perspective, which arguably makes it all the worse.
All it’ll take is one monster run of form from Gallo, which he’s been inclined to do throughout his career, for the fans to change their tune. But once again, Gallo might’ve fallen victim to the worst sample size of his career coupled with the Yankees misusing him in a multitude of ways simply because they made countless previous errors with roster construction.
When the fanbase mostly shrugged at this acquisition last year, you just knew it was far from exactly what the Yankees needed.