The Los Angeles Dodgers made three deals on MLB trade deadline day, including one that saw them acquire Joey Gallo from the New York Yankees in exchange for pitching prospect Clayton Beeter.
The move puzzled some as Gallo hit just .159/.282/.339 with four doubles, 12 home runs, 82 wRC+ and an MLB-worst 39% strikeout rate with the Yankees this season.
However, the 28-year-old is only one year removed from an All-Star campaign in which he belted 38 home runs, led the league with 111 walks and accumulated 4.2 WAR.
“A year ago he was worth a lot in the industry and got traded for a lot. The true talent level remains,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said of Gallo.
“We feel like getting him here, getting him with our guys, that there’s a real compelling upside story. For us, it was lengthening our position-player base to cover for unforeseen things that could pop up in August, September, October.
“We saw it last year when Muncy went down the last game of the year. Things can happen, and adding a talented player that we feel like there’s some real potential upside with, was something that was compelling for us.”
The Dodgers have an excellent track record when it comes to reclamation projects and they hope Gallo becomes the latest success story.
“I think it is obviously elite, off-the-charts power. Really good decision-making in the box, a really good defender in the outfield, who does have some swing and miss in his game, for sure. And when those other things are clicking, it still is a really valuable player,” Friedman answered when asked if the Dodgers can help Gallo tap into his potential.
“A year ago today, his industry value was significantly higher. That same true talent level is still in place. It’s not like an injury, had his foot speed back up, or real really affected the swing, so I think just getting to a different environment, our hitting guys are as good as it gets.
“We feel like it’s such a really compelling kind of upside story, coupled with the fit. Throughout the year we’ve just been a little bit short in the outfield, so to add a really good defensive outfielder also helps.”
The upside Friedman explained that the Dodgers saw in Gallo has not yet manifested as he is 2-for-10 with six strikeouts.
Friedman unsure of Gallo’s role with Dodgers
As it currently stands, Gallo figures to receive the bulk of his playing time in left field or as an option off the Dodgers’ bench. “We’ll add him to the mix and kind of let things play out,” Friedman said of Gallo’s potential role.
“I think we’re adding a talented player that has upside. Exactly the role and how it plays out, I think will be determined here shortly as we mix things around and hopefully get J.T. going again at some point, get C.T. back. We’ll figure it out as we go.”
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