The New York Yankees are reportedly trading outfielder Joey Gallo to the Los Angeles Dodgers, mercifully ending a Bronx experiment gone woefully wrong. Gallo, who joined the Yankees at the 2021 trade deadline, will try to start over with the Dodgers. Across 140 games with the Yankees, he batted .159/.291/.368 and struck out 194 times.
The deal was first reported by Pat Ragazzo, who says pitching prospect Clayton Beeter will be headed to the Yankees. The deal is pending physicals.
Gallo's exit was all but sealed with the Yankees dealt for Andrew Benintendi — an outfielder whose contact ability represents the polar opposite of Gallo's profile — in July. His struggles in New York followed several successful years with the Texas Rangers. While always boasting an extreme game that relied on walks and homers, Gallo was a very productive player from 2017 until the trade last year. Over that span, he racked up 138 homers while slashing .214/.340/.507, which was 20 percent better than the league average hitter by the park-adjusted wRC+ metric.
If the Dodgers can help him rediscover that form, he will add yet another left-handed power threat to a terrifying lineup. He joins what was looking to be a very crowded Dodgers outfield, but the team traded lefty bench bat Jake Lamb to the Seattle Mariners hours later to clear some space.
His up and down career is not dissimilar to Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger, who reached MVP heights in 2019 but has struggled mightily over the last two years. Bellinger has maintained his grip on a lineup spot through excellent defense, but has been an even worse hitter than Gallo.
Joey Gallo was ready for a trade from Yankees
Gallo didn't need Yankees fans to tell him he was struggling, but they certainly did their best to help. The experience left him more than ready to leave the Bronx, especially after the Benintendi trade.
In an interview with NJ.com's Randy Miller before the trade, Gallo said his Yankees tenure was his "rock bottom for the big leagues" and indicated he was ready to move on:
"Yeah, I think feel like people are a little sick of me here, so I don’t really know what else I can do at this point here. I haven’t played well, so I think it’ll help me to move on."
The struggles apparently got to the point that players from the Yankees' opponents would regularly reach out to offer encouragement, which may have had the opposite effect
"It makes me feel like a piece of s**t, honestly. I remember playing here with the Rangers, watching [Yankees] get booed off the field and thinking, ‘Holy s**t! I feel bad for that guy.’ Now it’s me. I do appreciate people reaching out, but it makes me feel like I’m a problem."
Those were not the words of a person who plans to be a Yankee on Wednesday, and now a trade has come to fruition. We'll see if Gallo can bounce back via the Dodgers' player development machine, or if Dodgers fans are any kinder.