The New York Yankees, who enter play tonight an underwhelming 8.5 games behind in the division, have had an up and down season. Yet, only three games behind the Oakland Athletics for the second AL Wild Card spot have decided to go for it. One glaring hole is in the outfield, where the Yankees have played Brett Gardner for most of the season. Gardy has hit to a putrid .197 batting average and .628 OPS in 2021. They also are among the worst teams in baseball in production from left-handed hitters.
The Yankees have seemingly resolved two birds with one stone, taking the best power bat remaining on the market. Per Lindsey Adler of the Athletic, the Yankees have acquired multi-time All-Star Joey Gallo and reliever John King. Gallo represents yet another three true outcome player to go along with Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, but adds certain depth to a what has so far been a shaky lineup for the Bombers. Look past Gallo’s .223 batting average, as the lefty outfielder has posted a career-high 19.1% walk rate in 2021, the highest of any player in MLB with at least 250 PA in 2021.
Gallo is one of the most potent power bats in the league, with a lifetime .497 SLG and an average of 41 homeruns per year. Gallo has 25 homeruns on the season and now looks to abuse the Yankee stadium porch. In 2021, Gallo’s posted a 140 OPS+, 40% better than the average hitter at the plate with a .379 OBP, 4.1 WAR and a league-leading 74 walks. The return to Texas is currently unknown, but said to be a “big haul” of packages. Gallo has more homeruns this year than every left-handed hitter to hit a homerun for the Yankees combined.
26-year-old rookie John King is a fascinating addition to this deal just hours after the Yankees dealt Justin Wilson and Luis Cessa to the Reds. King looks to help out an otherwise rocky bullpen, as he’s posted a solid 3.52 ERA across 46 innings of work. For a reliever, King crunches innings having posted 46 innings in just 27 games for the Rangers.
Update: The Yankees will receive the following prospects: shortstop Josh Smith, RHP Randy Vazquez. 2B Trevor Hauver, RHP Glenn Otto, OF Everson Pereira and 2B Ezequiel Duran. Otto, a 6’4 righty, has been blazing through the minors and should soon be MLB ready while Vazquez is still only 22 and in A ball. He has a 2.34 ERA in 50 innings with Tampa this season. Smith was the 67th pick overall in 2019 and recently received the call-up to High A. Also in the deal, Hauver, has a 1.043 OPS over the last month of play. Duran was yet another Yankee prospect struggling to find time in the Yankees system, a glove first player, as the Yankees traded their low-minors middle infield logjam away entirely outside of top prospect Anthony Volpe.
Update #2: Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the deal is undergoing last minute changes. Reasons for the changes are unknown, but it’ll be Joely Rodriguez joining Gallo in the Bronx as opposed to King. It will be Rodriguez’s third big league club, Rodriguez has a 5.05 ERA in the Majors. With a lesser reliever, the return has diminished a small bit. It will be four prospects going to the Rangers: Glenn Otto, Josh Smith, Trevor Hauver and Ezequiel Duran.
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