Twins add Joey Gallo on 1-year deal

December 20th, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have much work to do after missing out on Carlos Correa, and their search for impact continued with the addition of slugging outfielder Joey Gallo to a one-year deal, which became official on Tuesday.

Terms of the deal were not announced, but a source told’s Mark Feinsand that's it for $11 million. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Twins designated outfielder Mark Contreras for release or assignment.

“We’re thrilled to have Joey,” Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “His resume speaks for itself. He’s a multi-time Gold Glove winner, a multi-time All-Star. We think he fits our team really well. A guy who can go play anywhere in the outfield and by all accounts has tremendous skills over at first base as well.”

Gallo is coming off a difficult 2022 in which he slashed .160/.280/.357 with 19 homers and a 39.8% strikeout rate for the Yankees and Dodgers, struggling immensely after moving to the Bronx with a spike in his already-high strikeout numbers, which limited his ability to get to his otherworldly power. For now, he’s an odd positional fit on a Twins roster already deep in left-handed corner outfielders.

But any one-year deal carries relatively little risk, particularly considering Gallo’s strong defensive ability (including experience in center field), and there’s plenty of upside the Twins can hope to tap into, considering Gallo is only one season removed from posting a career-best 4.7 WAR in 2021 with the Rangers and Yankees, thanks to his perhaps one-of-a-kind power and ability to draw walks.

Gallo said he thinks it was a combination of things that led to his down season in 2022 but he’s looking forward to a fresh start. 

“I think it was -- mentally it was tough for me,” Gallo said. “I think it’s good to have an offseason to reset. I’ve been cleaning up some things mechanically. Just trying to get back on track with conviction.” 

Considering how often Gallo has stared out at comically exaggerated infield and outfield shifts (including four-man outfields), there has to be thought that the 29-year-old will stand to benefit from the newly enacted limitation on defensive shifts for the 2023 season and beyond. Per Baseball Savant, Gallo has faced infield shifts on at least 82% of his plate appearances in each of the last six seasons.

"I'm excited about that," Gallo said. "I've been grinding through the shift for a long time now. But I think one benefit will be more extra-base hits. It was tougher because there were so many guys in the outfield it was tough to hit doubles or triples." 

If nothing else, the 2022 Twins took a step back in their ability to hit the ball over the fence, as only Byron Buxton (28 homers) and Correa (22) exceeded 20 roundtrippers. Gallo hits homers with the best of them, most recently hitting 38 blasts in ‘21 before struggling in ‘22. He’ll give the Twins middle-of-the-order pop from all over the diamond, fitting into their preferred mold of defensive flexibility.

Even so, the Twins didn’t need any more left-handed corner outfielders, where they already have Max Kepler, Trevor Larnach, Alex Kirilloff, Matt Wallner and Nick Gordon as such options, and this signing seems like an even stronger indication that Minnesota could be looking to trade one or more of those players in search of a big impact addition on the pitching staff or elsewhere.

“I am anticipating based on the calls that we’ve had of late that [the trade market] will start to come maybe just after Christmas, somewhere right around the turn of the year, that there’s just going to be a little bit more of a heavy focus on the trade market,” Falvey said. “We’ll be in those conversations.”

Kepler has long been a buzzy name in trade rumors, but considering his offensive struggles, it doesn’t appear likely that he could headline a deal that would bring back a frontline pitcher. That could take a younger, higher-ceiling player like Larnach or Wallner -- and perhaps more.

Falvey acknowledged on Friday that the Twins are drawing “a lot of interest” in several of their Major League players, and they have to be open to such deals if they wish to avoid further depleting a farm system that has grown much less robust in the last year. As the market transitions from free agency to trades in the coming weeks, there’s still plenty of work remaining, as Minnesota could still use a shortstop, right-handed pop and impact pitching.

“Well, I think our roster isn’t done, so I would say our view right now is that we need to continue to get through the offseason,” Falvey said. “It’s Dec. 16, and I think there’s more time for us to figure out what our group and outfield look like.”