The Yankees have answered the question as to whether they will be buyers at the trade deadline in an emphatic way.
New York acquired outfielder Joey Gallo and relief pitcher Joely Rodriguez in exchange for prospects Glenn Otto, Ezequiel Duran, Trevor Hauver, and Josh Smith. The Texas Rangers are also retaining the 2021 salaries for Gallo and Rodriguez.
These names the Yankees gave up are not ones people are too familiar with, but they are quality prospects. Especially Duran and Smith, who are players that would likely rank as top 10 prospects in the Yankees system if the rankings were updated.
MLB.com rankings are from before the 2021 season, so they are not the most accurate rankings to go by. While the Yankees did give up quality prospects, they did not give up the top guys in their system.
Guys like Jason Dominguez, Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, Luis Gil, and Luis Medina are prospects I would have been much more upset to give up in this deal.
Baseball America just released their top 30 Yankees prospects.
Also notable: Trey Sweeney at #7, Otto at #20, Donny Sands at #30.
— Eli Fishman (@elijfishman) July 29, 2021
Brian Cashman did a great job making this deal without giving up any of those guys who are my personal top five favorite prospects in the Yankees system while still getting the Rangers to retain all of the 2021 salary. Not to mention that Otto and Duran are eligible for the Rule 5 draft after the 2021 season.
The fully retained salary makes it realistic that the Yankees could make another deal before the trade deadline hits tomorrow. There have been rumors about them being in the market for Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story and Washington Nationals outfielder Kyle Schwarber. We also know the Yankees could use some type of pitcher, whether it be a starter or reliever.
Personally, Story would excite me the most, as I believe his down year at the plate is an anomaly, and his great defense at shortstop could turn the Yankees into an excellent defensive team.
An important detail with Gallo is that he is under contract until the end of 2022, so even if the Yankees miss the playoffs this year, he is around next season as well. This season the Yankees will reset the luxury tax penalties by staying under the threshold, which will likely allow them to address needs in the offseason in a more aggressive way than they did this past offseason.
Lastly, I want to address some misconceptions about Gallo as a player. Gallo comes with the reputation of being a three true outcomes player with incredible power who strikes out a lot. That is true about him, but that is not all he brings to the table as a player.
Gallo brings elite defense and versatility. He can play all three outfield positions as well as first base.
He is currently at 6 outs above average and 14 defensive runs saved on the year, which is great. His arm is also just as good as Aaron Judge’s arm, which Yankees fans know is great.
Joey Gallo has an actual cannon attached to his body pic.twitter.com/OrGc2vf9dw
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) July 28, 2021
Knowing that Gallo brings great defense, it makes sense that he would be a good athlete and a good baserunner. His BsR is 2.6 right now, according to Fangraphs, and he has six stolen bases on the year. To put it into context, the Yankees BsR as a team collectively is -9.5 so far this season.
Lastly, let’s look at Gallo’s strikeout numbers. His strikeout rate is 32.2% right now, the second highest in the league. So the high strikeout reputation is very much earned, and I understand why that type of player is not appealing.
I will always say that the conversation about whether three true outcomes baseball is appealing to watch and whether three true outcomes baseball is the best strategy for winning are separate conversations.
#JoeyJack counter: 2̶4̶ 25 pic.twitter.com/FmTGNurkmg
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) July 28, 2021
Maybe you would have preferred the Yankees to have acquired Adam Frazier from the Pittsburgh Pirates, and I would not blame anyone for holding that opinion. But the fact that Gallo is a huge upgrade over Brett Gardner, Ryan LeMarre, or whatever other outfielders you want to name that has been run out there by the Yankees this year is not up for debate.
Shohei Ohtani and Fernando Tatis Jr. are two of the faces of baseball this year; they both strike out about 30% of the time.
They are both undoubtedly two of the best players in baseball this season. Gallo improves the Yankees a ton.
Gallo 32% K rate
Ohtani 30% but that's OK because he rules (and, um, pitches). Tatis 29%
Looking at the K% leaders, some high-K hitters are really good (those guys, Lowe, Sal Perez, Yordan, Teoscar)
Others not so much (Suarez, Michael A. Taylor, Jackie Bradley, Hunter Dozier)
— James Smyth (@JamesSmyth621) July 29, 2021
Batting average should not be the main stat we use anymore, and I have detailed that many times. Gallo currently has a 139 wRC+, .869 OPS, and 138 OPS+ with a 19.1% walk rate.
With runners in scoring position, he is slugging .500 with a .904 OPS. Only three Yankees have an OPS above .800 in those situations, and he has 30 runners in scoring position RBI, which is more than anyone on the team.
Gallo will instantly be one of the best hitters on the Yankees when inserted into the lineup.
There is a ton to like about this deal, and reason to believe the Yankees will make more moves to better the team by the time the trade deadline passes.
Featured Image: Rick Osentoski/USA Today