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Joey Gallo is the Yankees compromise. They were on the verge of acquiring a lefty hitter and a defender they badly lacked. It came in a package already quite familiar to their lineup — lots of all or nothing and with the kind of swing holes often exploited by the better teams at the biggest times.
Gallo was pulled from the Rangers’ starting lineup before their Wednesday evening game against the Diamondbacks, with the deal to the Yankees nearing conclusion. The sides were still working to finalize all details late into the night.
If concluded, the team with the second fewest plate appearances and homers by lefty hitters in the majors — yep, how did the franchise that plays with a short porch in right field allow that to happen? — would be adding one of the foremost lefty power hitters in the game.
But it comes in an offensive profile with tinges of Gary Sanchez. Since the beginning of last season, Gallo has 35 homers and a .207 batting average. Gallo leads the majors this year with 74 walks. But take a look at the Texas lineup. If you did, you would never throw Gallo a strike. Perhaps, he will get more of them surrounded by better Yankees hitters.
That should lead to plenty of damage. Also plenty of strikeouts.
Gallo was fanning in 32.2 percent of his plate appearances this year — second highest among qualified batters. He has a career in which he has struggled driving in runners from third with less than two outs. His 40.7 this year is actually the best of his career and still lower than the 2021 Yankees rate of 43.8 percent — second-worst in the majors and central to the club’s woes this year.
It is moments like those that you need a good hitter. The Yankees are more replete with dangerous hitters, not necessarily good ones. Gallo will move into that seamlessly. In part because the Yankees’ brain trust just can’t resist this type.
They love the idea of presenting menace at the plate, making pitchers feel a conveyor belt of looming threat. The 6-foot-5 Gallo will fit next to the 6-7 Aaron Judge and 6-6 Giancarlo Stanton and 6-3 middle linebacker that is Luke Voit. When it goes right (and in the case of Gallo now, left) for these Yankees, they will be the Bronx Bombers in full.
Also, would you bet that Gallo works in October? Works against the best pitching when game plans are ever more precise?
The Yankees would be gambling a lot of organizational depth to find out. They did not touch the top of the farm system, but rather used their organizational motherlode, particularly in the middle infield, to form a package to seduce Texas.
The Yankees were willing to do that because they also control Gallo through 2022. But mainly they did it because their two best lefty hitters will now be players who began spring training in Rangers camp. Rougned Odor was the best of a miserable lefty contingent for the Yanks that began Wednesday hitting a collective .197 with 22 homers. Gallo has 25 by himself, and the right-field porch is going to play like Williamsport distance for his might.
He also likely will be asked to man the spacious left field at Yankee Stadium. Gallo won a Gold Glove in right. This is not Stanton. He moves spryly for a big man — agile enough to not be overwhelmed when asked to play center field.
But everything is about to change for him, including the judgments on all phases of his game. Gallo is transplanting from a football hotbed and a team that has the fifth worst record in the majors since he became a full-timer in 2017 to the home office for major league pressure.
The Yankees wanted to try to rally from an underachieving season and punch their way into the playoffs. So they were on the brink of adding another knockout artist — albeit one with a few nuanced touches. The Yankees couldn’t resist their favorite profile.
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Joel Sherman