Brian Cashman did well to trade for Joey Gallo, but is it enough to save the New York Yankees?
Well, Joey Gallo is now coming over from the Texas Rangers to shave the beard and don the pinstripes. Does that count?
The New York Yankees today announced that they have acquired INF/OF Joey Gallo, LHP Joely Rodriguez and cash considerations from the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Glenn Otto and infielders Ezequiel Duran, Trevor Hauver and Josh Smith.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 29, 2021
Furthermore, Brendan Kuty of NJ.com says this is just the biggest of what could be many more moves. Remember, the Yankees also boosted their bullpen by adding Clay Holmes earlier this week.
Oh, and just for good measure, as Jack Curry of the YES Network surprised us with Thursday, first baseman Anthony Rizzo is headed over from the Chicago Cubs.
Now that the deals are official, however, let’s take a look at the Gallo deal specifically and answer an important question:
Will Brian Cashman be redeemed, or will this deal blow up in his face?
Joey “New York” Gallo
First things first, Joey Gallo is a great get for the New York Yankees. He’s an elite defensive outfielder and though he’s only batting .223 on the year, he has 25 home runs with 55 RBI. Gallo also leads MLB in walks drawn and has a walk rate (BB%) of 19.1%.
Granted, that isn’t to say the 27-year-old slugger isn’t without flaws. For one thing, he strikes out a lot. Not, “Oh, he’s a natural power hitter who just strikes out a bit,” I mean a lot, as in worse than Milhouse in his endless pursuit of Lisa. Gallo’s strikeout rate (K%) for the season is 32.2%, and a May report from Baseball America put the league average at 24%.
Yet, Gallo’s K% this year is a significant drop below his career mark of 36.7%. On top of that, he draws enough walks to make up for them and is also a stellar defensive outfielder. He won a Gold Glove last year and owns a 14 DRS with nine outfield assists in 2021.
Joey Gallo is a bona fide three true outcomes player who offers an added bonus with his glove. Moreover, his name just reeks of Big Apple swagger. Throw in the New York Yankees getting lefty groundball specialist Yoely Rodriguez in the deal too, and it’s a win for Brian Cashman.
Who did Texas get?
Even better news for the Yankees is that trading for Gallo cost the team mere pennies on the dollar. One could argue that Cashman fleeced the Rangers. Remember, this is the same man who acquired Sonny Gray from the Oakland A’s for three minor leaguers, two of which were out for the season at the time.
Except the Yankees really didn’t fleece the Rangers. They traded away mostly organizational depth, as in players who really didn’t have a clear path to the MLB roster. Now, let’s take a look at each player.
Glenn Otto is a right-handed starter who’s gone 7-3 with a 3.33 ERA across Double and Triple-A this year, and he has 115 strikeouts in just 75.2 innings. He also has good control of his pitches, but is 25 and the Yankees prefer to prioritize Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia’s development. In Texas, given the state of the Rangers’ pitching, he could make the big league club this year.
Ezequiel Duran can field well at second base, but doesn’t have much bat potential despite batting .290 with 12 homers at High-A Hudson Valley. Trevor Hauver had a .288/.445/.498 line at Class A Tampa and could be a reliable lefty bat, but his success is tied to succeeding in the outfield. Josh Smith is also a lefty-hitting infielder who hit .324 in the minors this year.
Texas is tanking, so better for these prospects to go where they have a better shot at making the majors than simply toiling on the farm.
Is Brian Cashman redeemed?
We set out to answer this question from the start and in the immediate, the answer is a resounding yes. Brian Cashman loosened his grip on the farm system and both fixed a gaping hole in the New York Yankees’ lineup while also winning the trade.
Joey Gallo’s swing is tailor-made for Yankee Stadium. Yoely Rodriguez helps a tired bullpen. Gallo is also under contract for next year and even though that could complicate things when Aaron Hicks comes back, Cashman can worry about that later.
What matters now is that Brian Cashman wanted Joey Gallo and stopped at nothing to get him because it’s what his team needed. This is the Cashman who fans have missed the last few trade deadlines, the GM who is absolutely ruthless when making deals. He saw how badly the desperate Rangers wanted to unload Gallo’s rising salary, and convinced them to restock their farm rather than insist on MLB-ready talent.
And even then, the Rangers got someone pretty close in Otto.
Is Brian Cashman back and the New York Yankees’ season saved? It’s way too early to tell, but this certainly looks like a big step forward.