Yankees shopping Joey Gallo as Juan Soto alternative and that’s crazy

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 06: Joey Gallo #13 of the New York Yankees hits a home run in the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 6, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 06: Joey Gallo #13 of the New York Yankees hits a home run in the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 6, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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When the New York Yankees finalized a trade for Andrew Benintendi immediately after their second consecutive loss to the Mets, Brian Cashman was spotted forcing Joey Gallo’s athletic socks into a messenger bag, swiftly wrapping up the packing process on the outfielder’s way out of town.

Adding Benintendi gives the Yankees an additional All-Star in the outfield and, most importantly, a contact bat with plenty of AL East experience. Though still young, he’s a seasoned veteran in terms of peskiness, poking and prodding liners around the diamond while occasionally finding the seats (ideally, the short porch these days).

Gallo? It was a wise gamble at the time way back in 2021. All the Yankees had to surrender for his services were several blocked prospects with Rule 5 decisions hanging over their heads. Alas, it didn’t work out, and Gallo’s Yankee performance has been among the worst in modern history. Gallo may finish the year strong. He won’t be doing so in the Bronx.

Unless … the Yankees bungle the sales pitch? According to the latest rumblings, the Yanks are scuffling in their attempts to unload Gallo prior to Tuesday’s deadline, as the interested parties they’ve been reaching out to are more interested in Juan Soto at the moment.

Can the Yankees really afford to take this risk? Can Brian Cashman really wait around for the Padres and Rangers to whiff on the Soto chase and pony up one or two semi-interesting prospects for his biggest failure since Sonny Gray? Shouldn’t the Bombers just be looking for anyone to foot the bill at this point?

Yankees shopping Joey Gallo unsuccessfully to Rangers, Padres

Gallo’s bizarre Yankee tenure seems to have been driven by something beyond the stat sheet; he’s been a markedly different player ever since putting on the pinstripes, striking out at much the same rate he always did, but making far worse contact.

A full year of Gallo has resulted in remarkable consistency, even though most analysts attempted to write off his two-month stretch in 2021 as a fluke. Instead, it turned out to be the Yankee Norm, and actually worsened this season; he hit .160 in ’21 and .161 in ’22, but his OBP dropped 18 points from .303 to .285 and his slugging plummeted from .404 to .343.

.404 is also quite poor!

Gallo could be a new man elsewhere — it would shock no one — but something about playing for the Yankees has left him lost, even after putting up a “signature Yankee moment” very early in his tenure with a magical three-run shot to right in the late innings against the Mariners. For whatever reason, it wasn’t enough to make him comfortable.

Some other team could get a relative steal in Gallo, whose value has never been lower. The Yankees wasting their time lurking on the edges of the Soto chase in case those teams make a desperate, late overpay for Gallo feels like a waste of time, however. To avoid having to DFA the slugger after his replacement arrives from Kansas City, the Yankees should cut their losses here and improve everyone’s lives by taking whatever relief they can get.