You hear that? In the distance? That’s Brett Gardner reclining back in his chair and smiling ear-to-ear, patiently awaiting his return to the New York Yankees.
The more Joey Gallo continues to struggle and, quite frankly, make a fool of himself with strikeout after strikeout and defensive gaffe after defensive gaffe, the more fans are going to make their voices heard … even if that means flip-flopping on a particular offseason stance that many held strongly to.
Heading into the 2022 season, most fans were aligned on Gardy not playing 140 games in the outfield for the Yankees. It’s not that he’s bad or disliked, it’s just the Yankees needed to be better in so many facets, and that was one of them.
If Gardner was going to return with a more realistic role (part-time duty in ~100 games), then fans would’ve signed up for that in a heartbeat. But that’s just not the way it’s shaken out of the past few years. Change was needed and the Yankees needed to take charge.
However, the alternative hasn’t been better. Until Friday night, Aaron Judge was struggling at the plate. Aaron Hicks has been very good, but he can’t get a hit with RISP or in a clutch situation to save his life. And Joey Gallo? Joey Gallo. JOEY. GALLO. His play has been untenable.
But never in a million years did we expect for fans at Yankee Stadium to bust out “We Want Gardner” chants on Friday night. But we guess that’s what happens when Gallo makes another egregious fielding mishap and goes 0-for-4 (again) with two strikeouts.
Yankees fans apparently chanted “We Want Gardner” amid Joey Gallo’s struggles
Forgive those who believed Gardner’s return with an expanded role would’ve proved the Yankees didn’t have a true plan to get better … because nobody foresaw Gallo continuing to be this bad. He’s already worse than the worst version of himself that fans saw for 58 games in 2021.
Across his first 72 games as a Yankee, Gallo is hitting .153 with a .645 OPS. He has zero runs scored, zero extra-base hits, and zero RBI on the season. He’s struck out 18 times in 47 at-bats and has walked only six times. His OPS+ is an 11. ELEVEN! This is impossible.
For as unspectacular Gardner’s been the last two years, at least he was blowing that production out of the water while playing very good defense across multiple outfield spots. Gallo can’t even handle left field.
The Yankees reportedly refuse to “sell low” on Gallo, which means he’s probably not going anywhere. At the same time, this can only be tolerated for so long. Gallo is an objective liability on both sides of the ball and is making over $10 million in 2022. The Yankees can’t keep trotting him out there, especially if the team isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders, and expect this to simply “change.”
Does that mean Gardy will be making his return to the Bronx? That much is unclear, but we’re one injury away from that happening, and we can expect a warm welcome from the fans if it does.