Joey Gallo never would’ve done this with Yankees, but it’s still embarrassing


The New York Yankees had to get rid of Joey Gallo at the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline, if any sort of path to his departure presented itself. The Gallo Experiment hadn’t worked, and the rut he’d dug himself into was only getting deeper with each passing strikeout or depressing comment.

Would it work at his next stop? Could he right the ship before the offseason? It seemed unlikely; he was too far gone during his final months in the Bronx, punctuated by the slugger packing up his locker the day before he’d even been dealt.

Even if Gallo somehow pulled off a miracle and registered a few trademark taters in a new home, though, it wouldn’t affect the Yankees tangibly (unless, of course, Gallo managed to curse them on the way out of town).

Of course, you know what happened next. The Dodgers sent Clayton Beeter to the Yanks in exchange for Gallo, preached that they had a few mechanical tweaks at the ready, Bombers fans scoffed, and then he immediately became the most impactful offensive addition any team made at this year’s deadline.

No, really. Through Wednesday, he has the highest OPS out of all the players who swapped sides. Higher than Juan Soto. Higher than Brandon Drury. Lightyears beyond Josh Bell. For every Padres loss, there’s a Dodgers win. And for every Yankees embarrassment, there’s another team being shown the light. The issue isn’t that Gallo could’ve done this in the Bronx. The problem is he really was just a tweak or two away, and could be doing this in literally any town other than New York, where his own anxiety consumed him.

Yankees didn’t get best of Joey Gallo — like Dodgers did

The Yankees’ coaching staff can’t have just missed Gallo’s quick-fixes, could they? The Bombers have done too good a job with the rest of the roster to be this oblivious. It seems, like in Sabermetricians’ nightmares, that the human element has revealed itself once again to be a very real part of team building.

Something about the way Yankee fans meshed with Gallo’s personality blocked him from enlightenment. The exact opposite has happened in Hollywood.

Or, there’s the sad potential reality that the Yanks really were too stupid to know what they had right in front of them, as Aaron Boone pounded the table and screamed. Sad, but possibly true.

Want a silver lining? Not to act all high and mighty, but even amid Gallo’s post-trade hot streak, he’s still struck out 16 times in 35 at-bats. His game remains unsightly to many Yankee fans who are obsessed with lineup balance. He’s been replaced by Andrew Benintendi, who’s found his groove and won the past three games with clutch knocks (a homer, a single, and a double).

Even the best version of Gallo would’ve been pretty painful for some Yankee fans to watch. That redundancy with the rest of the lineup’s swing-and-miss threats was the reason why he was so unnecessarily reviled from the time he was acquired, and may have led to his lowered ceiling in the Bronx.

It was never going to happen here — “it” referring to mass satisfaction with Gallo’s game and performance. It’s fair to scratch your head every time he delivers a double down the line in Los Angeles, but know this was never going to be the Yankees’ fate if they’d kept him.