Matt Carpenter and his epic mustache energy have made an immediate impact on both the Yankees and their fans.
In doing so, Joey Gallo and his big power bat have become yesterday’s news. And soon, the embattled hitless wonder may be on his way out of town.
Gallo’s home run power speaks for itself. In fact, it’s basically all he has. He told NJ.com earlier this season that power, walks, and striking out are all he really knows at the plate.
“I wish I was a contact hitter,” said Gallo. “But I’m playing the hand I was dealt.”
But the 36-year-old Carpenter has done more in seven games with New York than Gallo arguably has since arriving from Texas last season. He’s posted a line of .263/.391/.895 with a 1.286 OPS. His WAR is already up to 0.5.
Carpenter only has five hits in pinstripes, but four have been home runs. His last two homers have been deep into Yankee Stadium’s second deck. His only other base hit? A perfect bunt single against the shift.
Gallo, meanwhile, is still streaky and otherwise unreliable. He’s batting .177 with five home runs and seven RBI on June 4. He has 56 strikeouts in 149 plate appearances, or 37.6%. All while the Yankees are paying him over $10 million — and giving Carpenter the veteran’s minimum at around $1 million.
In case it isn’t already obvious, the Yankees need to make a decision soon. Gallo being a two-time Gold Glove outfielder with a cannon arm isn’t enough of a reason to keep him around. Trading him is probably out of the question too unless Brian Cashman is willing to trade him for a dinner at Catch Steak.
All this to say, the Yankees need to cut bait on Gallo and roll with Carpenter as their go-to lefty depth bat. Remember, he was a contact-hitting machine in his prime years with the St. Louis Cardinals. Carpenter led the NL in doubles twice and also slugged 36 home runs in 2018.
Not to mention, the Yankees have plenty of outfield depth that Joey Gallo wouldn’t be a devastating loss. Miguel Andujar proved in his recent 12-game stint he’s more than capable of handling left field, not to mention still competent with the bat.
And yet, Andujar was optioned to Triple-A Scranton after Friday’s game so Giancarlo Stanton could be activated from the injured list. Gallo, on the other hand, is starting in right field and batting sixth on Saturday.
Carpenter, however, is on the bench and getting the day off.
The good news is that long-term, Gallo probably won’t be a Yankee much longer. He’s a free agent after the season and it’s hard to imagine he’ll still be in New York after the Aug. 2 trade deadline. Cashman is a skilled enough GM that he can probably find a buyer for Gallo.
But in the event that he can’t, even he has to realize rolling with Carpenter is the smarter move. He might be an absolute fielding liability and isn’t the hitter he was with the Cardinals, but he’s still an improvement over Gallo. Looking like Tom Selleck in the ’90s classic “Mr. Baseball” doesn’t hurt either.
The Yankees took a flyer on Carpenter, and they’ve since won some important games thanks to Carpenter. Now, let’s see them show a full commitment to winning by letting go of Gallo.