Time plays part in Gallo deal for Rangers

Texas acquires four prospects with upside from New York

July 29th, 2021

ARLINGTON -- Nobody wants to trade a player of Joey Gallo’s caliber. That much president of baseball operations Jon Daniels made clear. But it was almost unavoidable considering the state of the Rangers’ rebuild direction combined with Gallo’s contract situation.

On Thursday, Texas announced the deal to send the slugger and pitcher Joely Rodríguez to the Bronx in return for four of the Yankees’ Top 30 Prospects: second basemen , infielder/outfielder , shortstop and right-hander .

Yankees get: OF/DH Joey Gallo; LHP Joely Rodríguez; cash considerations
Rangers get: SS Josh Smith (Yankees' No. 14 prospect per MLB Pipeline); 2B Ezequiel Duran (No. 15); 2B/OF Trevor Hauver (No. 23); RHP Glenn Otto (No. 28)

The trade indicates a full-scale rebuild for the Rangers, as their timeline didn’t match up with Gallo’s. Texas is last in the AL West, sitting 26 1/2 games back of Houston’s lead.

“We traded a very good baseball player and a really good person,” Daniels said. “But that's the thing when we talk about rebuilding, it can't be at half measures. I think that if you're going to embrace that, you have to be realistic about what the options are and that's why it was very clear to us it was, it was an extension or a trade. Both were strong considerations and both got a lot of time internally.”

Selected by the Rangers in the first round of the 2012 Draft, Gallo was the longest-tenured player on the 40-man roster. He’s certainly been one of the best homegrown talents of Daniels’ tenure, first as general manager and now as president of baseball operations.

“His growth through the organization is really a tremendous success story for him, for our scouts, for our coaches and everybody that’s touched him along the way,” Daniels said. “For a homegrown player to reach the level that he is -- an All-Star, a Gold Glove winner, Silver Slugger-caliber -- he’s really a true top-end talent and a great person in the community. It was emotional, yesterday, in particular, talking to him.”

Gallo, 27, is in the midst of his second All-Star season, hitting .223 with a Major League-leading 74 walks but with a .379 OBP and a .490 slugging percentage. The seven-year veteran has hit 25 of his 145 career homers this season.

Daniels emphasized that timeline was the main motivation for the trade. While acknowledging that rebuilds are frustrating, the Rangers did not want to run out the clock on Gallo’s potential value.

“Joey's a hell of a player,” Daniels said. “But we're rebuilding, we're in last place and we have a lot of work to do. If a player, based on their contractual status, is not going to be here when we are really ready to do something special, our options are either to consider a trade or to run out the clock. Running out the clock doesn't make a lot of sense when you look at it in the big scheme of things.”

Daniels said the Rangers discussed Gallo with “a number of teams,” but the Yankees emerged as the trade partner for a number of reasons. Considering New York’s current race for the AL East and its deep farm system, it became obvious that the two sides could work out a deal.

“Our scouts and our evaluators really liked a lot of their players,” Daniels said. “I think because we had talked with them in the past about different situations last Deadline and last winter about a variety of things, we had done a lot of work on their group and ultimately felt really comfortable.”

In return, the Rangers will receive multiple prospects, all of whom slot into the club’s MLB Pipeline Top 30 Prospects list: Smith ranks No. 7, Duran at No. 8, Hauver at No. 19 and Otto at No. 26.

The three position players will head off to High-A Hickory, while Otto will slot in Triple-A Round Rock’s rotation. Daniels said it’s possible the right-hander will make his MLB debut later this season.

Daniels said the deal is unique in that no one guy in particular stands out, but all four have the potential to be impact big leaguers.

“All four guys graded pretty well, and I really like all four guys,” Daniels said. “Duran’s a guy that’s probably jumped forward the most in the last year or so. He’s a two-way player with good makeup and plays with a ton of passion. Smith, Hauver and Otto were high picks from very good [college] programs. ... It wasn't a situation where there were any throw-ins or anything like that. All four were critical to the deal.”