OF Joey Gallo- New York Yankees
We’ve went down this rabbit hole before. The Detroit Tigers need power, and Gallo is certainly capable of that. However, he’s looked like a shell of his former self ever since he put on the pinstripes.
Gallo is still hitting the ball hard and hitting the ball in the air at a 40% clip. He’s also still walking at almost a 15% rate, and he’s not striking out any more than he usually does. So what gives?
Well, it seems as if for whatever reason, he’s letting the short porch in Yankee Stadium get to him. His pull rate of 51.6% is by far the highest of any of his full seasons played. It seems as if he’s making a conscious effort to make use of the short 314-foot distance down the right field line, when he doesn’t really need to do that.
We all know the kind of raw power Gallo possesses. Rarely are any of his homers wall scrapers. When he gets a hold of one, it goes a long, long way.
He’s also taken a huge step back defensively this season, ranking in the 12th percentile in outs above average according to Baseball Savant. Gallo is a two-time Gold Glover in the outfield. It really seems like he’s letting his struggles at the plate follow him into the field.
The case of Joey Gallo seems like one of a player that can’t handle the pressure of playing in New York. We see this happen all the time. A recent example is Sonny Gray. Gray was really solid for the most part with the Oakland A’s, then he got traded to the Yankees in 2017 and he wasn’t the same. This all culminated in him smiling when he walked off the field while getting booed after one of his final starts in the Bronx.
Gray was traded to the Cincinnati Reds that offseason and immediately went back to his old self, becoming an All-Star in 2019. The fan and media pressure of New York is unlike any other in sports. Players are constantly under a microscope, and some guys just can’t handle that pressure.
If Gallo were to get traded to the Tigers, he would be coming to a non-competitive team with no expectations for the rest of the year. There’s no expectation of winning. The media here in Detroit is nothing like it is in New York. Gallo can simply focus on finding his groove again.
Yes, it’s possible that his three-true outcome approach at the plate has caused an early decline at age 28. To completely deny that would be silly. But trading for Gallo likely wouldn’t cost much since he’s a free agent at the end of the year. The Yankees are said to want a corner outfielder as part of the return. They can have Robbie Grossman.
The last time we suggested the Tigers could trade for Gallo, it did not go over well with fans, and that’s understandable. But they need to try something to get this offense going. If they acquire Gallo and are able to get him going again, it could end up being a steal. If not, at least they tried.