5 intriguing trade fits for Joey Gallo

August 30th, 2020

The Rangers already were a focal point of trade rumors ahead of Monday’s 4 p.m. ET Deadline, given the team’s 12-20 record entering Sunday and the presence of potential chips such as starters Lance Lynn and Mike Minor.

Now another intriguing name has entered the picture. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Sunday afternoon that outfielder also has been discussed in trade talks, although the cost clearly would be significant.

On one hand, Gallo has not been doing a lot to pump up his trade value of late. He entered Sunday with only a .629 OPS over his previous 21 games, dropping his season line to .188/.339/.436 -- good for a league-average wRC+ of 100 -- with his usual pile of strikeouts. He’s still making elite contact when he gets the bat on the ball, but the results haven’t been there.

On the other hand, Gallo is only 26, he’s under club control through the 2022 season, and as recently as 2019, he was playing at an MVP-caliber level until injuries intervened. Until being placed on the injured list last June 2, Gallo was batting .276/.421/.653, ranking eighth in the Majors in wRC+ (164), tied for fifth in homers (17) and tied for fourth in FanGraphs WAR (2.9).

Gallo hasn’t quite gotten his groove back since being sidelined with oblique and wrist injuries last summer, but maybe a change of scenery would do him some good. It’s a move that’s not without risk but one with a huge potential reward -- not only for this stretch run but also for the next two seasons.

Just about any team could stand to benefit from adding Gallo’s power bat (and arm) to its lineup, but here is a look at five of the most interesting possible fits.

Cleveland Indians
Any time an outfielder is available, the Indians have to be in the conversation. That’s been a sore spot for a while now in Cleveland, and the problem has become especially acute in 2020, even as the Tribe has ascended to first place in the American League Central. Indians outfielders entered Sunday batting .185/.284/.282, with OPS figures of .490 (left), .555 (center) and .648 (right) across the field. That group is dragging down an offense that ranks 27th in the Majors in slugging (.359). Cleveland has gotten out to a fast start thanks to its pitching and could use some of that depth on the mound (Mike Clevinger, perhaps) to address this glaring need for the present and future.

Chicago White Sox
Speaking of AL Central clubs enjoying strong seasons, the White Sox have no shortage of thump. Chicago entered Sunday first in the Majors in slugging (.492) and wRC+ (123) and second to the Dodgers in homers (63). But who says you can only address weaknesses? Yes, a pitcher such as Lynn might be the more logical add for the Sox, but despite the club’s robust offense, it’s gotten little from right field, where Gallo’s former Texas teammate, Nomar Mazara, has not managed the hoped-for breakout. Now imagine this lineup with Gallo replacing Mazara (.588 OPS) and forming a wrecking crew with the likes of José Abreu, Luis Robert, Eloy Jiménez, Yoán Moncada and Tim Anderson (four of whom hit righty).

Colorado Rockies
Gallo spending half his games at Coors Field would be a must-watch spectacle. (He played his first three career games there earlier this month and hit a 448-foot dinger). As fun as the inevitable mile-high moonshots would be, this is about much more than some gaudy Statcast figures. While Coors Field helps the Rockies’ offensive stats (and, to be fair, punishes them when they go on the road), the club once again has a thin lineup in 2020. Colorado ranks 26th in park-adjusted wRC+ (86), with Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and Raimel Tapia the only players producing at an above-average level, with Nolan Arenado scuffling for much of the season so far. Even with David Dahl set to return to the outfield soon, a Rockies club that’s in the mix for a spot in this year’s expanded playoff field certainly could use the boost from another big bat.

San Diego Padres
Suddenly, the Padres have one of the most electrifying squads in the Majors, and as their pre-Deadline deals for reliever Trevor Rosenthal, first baseman/DH Mitch Moreland and catcher Jason Castro can attest, San Diego is going for it this year. Unfortunately, offseason acquisition Tommy Pham has been out with a broken hamate bone and could be sidelined until at least late in the regular season. That has opened up a bit of a hole in left field, where Jurickson Profar (.631 OPS) has taken most of the starts. Yes, adding Gallo could create a bit of a logjam of bats at some point, but the Padres shouldn’t be worried about that. They still have the type of farm system to be able to swing this sort of deal, and we know general manager A.J. Preller -- Texas’ senior director of player personnel when Gallo was drafted -- isn’t shy.

Tampa Bay Rays
This season is a golden opportunity for the Rays, who lead the AL East, and the time may be right to capitalize by using the game’s top farm system, per MLB Pipeline, to grab a high-ceiling player who can help for the next two-plus seasons. Tampa Bay has a solid offense overall (110 wRC+) and ranks second in MLB in walk rate, but it is only in the middle of the pack in slugging and home runs. Hunter Renfroe, an offseason addition, has disappointed (.636 OPS), and while another right-handed bat to complement Austin Meadows and Brandon Lowe might be ideal, Gallo’s potential is difficult to ignore. This would be a bold step for Tampa Bay, but perhaps one worth taking.