The Twins sign Joey Gallo to a one-year deal
Twins agree with outfielder joey rooster on a one year contract that will pay you $11MM.
Gallo, 29, has occasionally been one of the league’s scariest sluggers, but he’s coming off a slump. With the Rangers from 2017 to 2019, he was the poster boy for the three true results: home run, strikeout and walk. In that three-year span, he struck out in 36.8% of his plate appearances, while league averages in that time hovered around 22%. His walk rate of 14.3% far exceeded the league average of 8.5% at the time. He also hit 103 home runs in that stretch, leading to a .217/.336/.533 batting line. Despite huge punch-out totals, that production was 20% above league average, as evidenced by his 120 wRC+.
However, the seasons since then have not been as smooth. In the abbreviated 2020 season, Gallo hit .181/.301/.378 for a wRC+ of 86. He seemed to rebound in the first half of 2021, as he was sitting on a .223/.379/.490 line for a wRC+ 138 when the Rangers traded him to the Yankees. Unfortunately, he passed out in the Bronx, hitting .160/.303/.404 after the deal, 95 wRC+. He failed to course correct this year, as his first 82 games led him to a .159/.282/.339 slash line and 82 wRC+ before the Yanks traded him to the Dodgers at the deadline. His move to Hollywood didn’t change much, as he hit .162/.277/.393 as a Dodger for a wRC+ of 91.
While those lower-than-Mendoza batting averages are certainly ugly to look at, there’s plenty of reason to think he could get the train rolling again. For one, he’s still young, he just turned 29 last month. He’s still taking the snot out of the ball, too, as his hard-hit percentage was in the 94th percentile in 2022, his barrel rate was in the 98th, and his maximum exit velocity was in the 89th. Defensive changes also help him, since he hits from the left side. According to Statcast, Gallo changes 90% of his plate appearances, one of the 20 highest rates in the league.
Even if he can’t bounce back at the plate, he can still be a valuable player because of his strong defense. Defensive runs saved have given him a positive outfield rating in every season of his career, while Ultimate Zone Rating and Outs Above Average only gave him a negative number in 2022. For his overall fielding work, he has 43 DRS, 19 UZR and 7 OAA. Even though his bat was below average all year in 2022, he was still worth 0.6 wins above replacement, in the eyes of FanGraphs. In 2021, when he was good at the plate with Texas but bad with the Yanks, he was worth 4.2 fWAR.
For the Twins, Gallo should be located in one of the corners of the outfield, with Byron Buxton in the middle. This only adds to a messy outfield mix as the club have plenty of options on their roster. It was reported last week that the club is gaining commercial interest in max kepleras they also have Trevor Larnach, alex kirilloff, kyle garlic, Gilberto Celestino, royce lewis, nick gordon, matt wallner Y Mark Contreras in your field mix. Some of those players can also play infield, but it’s a pretty crowded dance floor. With Gallo now added to the mix, it would seem more likely to make a trade from Kepler or someone else.
The Twins should still have roster space available, as most of their offseason has been focused on finding Carlos Correa. The club reportedly made him an offer of $285MM for 10 years, or $28.5MM per season, though he instead signed with the Giants for $350MM for 13 years. The Twins have now given Gallo $11 million, taking the chance that he might rediscover some of his former form in a new setting. This move brings the club’s payroll to $118MM, for list resource. The club’s franchise record for an Opening Day payroll was the $134MM they depleted in 2022, per Cot’s baseball contracts. Assuming they’re willing to spend at similar levels this year, they still have about $16 million to work with, though Kepler will have an $8.5 million salary in 2023, as well as a $1 million buyout on a $10 club option. millions. Moving him could create some additional payroll space, unless they also receive some salary in the trade.
Despite unexpectedly landing a star in Correa for 2022, the Twins disappointed by finishing 78-84, 14 games behind the Guardians in the AL Central. Now they will have to try to figure out how to be better without Correa in 2023. Better health would be one way, as they suffered an incredible number of injuries in 2022. Another way could be to reallocate their $35.1MM salary across multiple players and hope for capital gains. , with Gallo now one of them.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post first reported that Gallo and the Twins agreed to $11 million. Jeff Passan of ESPN first reported the one-year deal.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.