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The Yankees are unhappy with Joey Gallo, who has one year left before his contract ends. I think he would be an interesting trade target for the Rockies. — Daniel D.
After reading this, I grew intrigued: How would Joey Gallo fit on the Rockies’ roster? The two-time All-Star can hit for power and has two Gold Gloves to his credit.
According to reporting, the former Texas Ranger may be headed out of the Bronx:
It’s easy to see why the Yankees might be interested in a deal.
After being traded at the deadline (the Yankees sent four prospects to Texas), it was an uneven season for Gallo who was coming off a not-good 2020. During his 2021 with the Rangers, Gallo hit 25 home runs and head an OPS of .869 (OPS+ of 139). After moving to the Yankees, however, his OPS was .707 (OPS+ of 93) though he still hit 13 home runs.
You Have My Attention, But Could Gallo Help a Struggling Outfield Offense?
Here’s how Gallo would rank in the Rockies’ 2021 outfield lineup:
He played more games that Charlie Blackmon and would have had the highest wRC+ and fWAR — by a lot. Gallo is a bit of a feast-or-famine player. Notice his high K% — slightly lower than Sam Hilliard’s — but his BB% of 18.0% is significantly higher than any of the Rockies’ outfielders. Still, 38 home runs? That’s 10 better than CJ Cron hit, and he rang up the most dingers of any Rockie in 2021.
Just for fun, here’s Joey Gallo facing off against Trevor Story in the 2021 Home Run Derby.
Sure, Gallo lost the first round (as we all hoped he would!), but it’s easy to see that swing finding its groove at Coors Field.
Incidentally, as I began sorting through this, it was impossible to ignore the similarities between Gallo and Sam Hilliard given that both have such a high K%. In fact, I compared the two players between 2019-2021. (Gallo has been in the Majors since 2015, so he has seen significantly more MLB games than Hilliard has, but it’s also worth noting that Gallo is only a year older than Hilliard.) With those caveats in mind, here’s how the two stack up:
Hilliard has the higher AVG and SLG, but Gallo’s OBP makes up for a lot.
In case you’re wondering how Hilliard fared in LIDOM, he played in 12 games, getting 54 plate appearances. He hit 3 home runs and struck out 15 times, earning a slashline of .204/.278/.429 for an OPS of .706. This is probably not the result the Rockies had hoped for.
The Rockies are, I think, hoping Hilliard can become the kind of slugging outfielder Gallo is. There’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that’s happening.
But to answer the original question, yes, Gallo could absolutely shore up the Rockies’ offense.
How’s the Defense, Then?
Not bad. Remember: Gallo has two gold gloves. Here he is in action for the Yankees:
That’s a single catch. Here’s the data:
Gallo hasn’t spent much time in centerfield, but notice that he has a DRS of 12 in right field. His DRS in left is significantly lower than that of Raimel Tapia, but Gallo’s offensive power makes up for it. (And all of this is significantly better than the defensive possibilities of Kyle Schwarber roaming Coors Field.)
I’ve come to think that despite his offensive struggles, the Rockies need to keep Garrett Hampson as their everyday center fielder. (Actually, that’s an important conversation that’s beyond the scope of this issue: What’s the value of a good center fielder at Coors Field, even if he is a below-replacement-level hitter?) An outfield with Blackmon in right, Hampson in center, and Gallo in left with Connor Joe as the backup isn’t bad. It’s certainly an improvement over what they’ve had for the last few years.
So Is There Any Weirdness?
Actually, there is. First, this this little-known fact:
So much for “Don’t bunt. Hit dingers.” On the other hand, maybe it would be good for the Rockies to have someone who can lay down a competent bunt.
Then there’s this scuffle with the New York sports media. Bob Klapisch reported on Gallo’s pre-game habits, as tweeted by @StaceGots:
Myself, I don’t have a problem with it. I’m not bothered by Joey Gallo’s idiosyncratic dressing habits any more than I’m troubled by Sonny Gray’s decision to change all of his clothes to shake up his pitching luck. (I also think this is none of my business, but whatever.)
I very much respect Gallo’s response, however:
S. Rose Gotsulias (they/them) @StaceGotsOh God. My whole show is going to be about this article, isn’t it… would anyone like to come on so I’m not ranting alone? https://t.co/ihbeuK1UCs
As for his personal preferences, I‘ll Gallo speak for himself:
The high K% and careful dressing, I can handle. Drake, though . . . .
So Is This Maybe Happening?
On one hand, the Rockies have a history of making trades with the Yankees — and getting the Rockies to find trading partners is no small thing — so that’s promising.
Gallo has one year remaining before becoming a free agent, and his projected salary is $10.2 million, which the Rockies could handle.
On the other, the Yankees really need outfielders, and given Giancarlo Stanton’s and Aaron Judge’s injury histories, it’s probably a part of the lineup the Yankees are trying to fortify.
If there is a trade, Joel Sherman has reported that the teams showing the most interest are the Rays, White Sox, Braves, Brewers, Giants, Padres, and Phillies.
Will Joey Gallo be trading his blue pinstripes for purple ones?
I don’t see the Rockies being interested in this deal, but it seemed worth sharing.
Down on the Farm
It was a good year for the Spokane team. You can learn more about just how good in this podcast.
What I’m Reading, Watching, & Listening To
Patrick Saunders’, Mark Kizla’s, & Pat Graham’s “Breaking Down the 2022 Hall of Fame Ballot with Three BBWAA Voters” (Denver Post)
Bryan Kilpatrick’s “Three Gifts No Rockies Fan Wants for the Holidays” (Mile High Sports) — Truest words ever.
Drake is not my favorite, but Joey Gallo likes him, so . . . .
As I mentioned last week, I’m cleaning out my drafts folder as the end of the year approaches. Look for another Rockies Pitch (or two) this week.
Thanks for reading —