When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Joey Gallo from the New York Yankees at the trade deadline, he was lost at the plate and on the verge of being designated for assignment.
But just one season earlier, Gallo was one of the top players traded when the Texas Rangers sent him to New York for a package of four prospects. The Dodgers took a chance on the upside of the two-time All-Star, and so far the results have been paying off.
In 24 games with the Dodgers since the trade, the 28-year-old is batting .203/.311/.469 with a 122 wRC+ and four home runs. One of those a big three-run shot in Tuesday’s win over the San Fransico Giants to help eliminate them from National League West contention.
Following the trade, Dodgers hitting coaches worked to make some adjustments with Gallo and he was on the field for live batting practice multiple times. But playing in such a deep lineup has also made a positive impact in helping him succeed.
“I think with the lineup we have, it takes a lot of pressure off,” Gallo said. “I’m just kind of there. I’m just watching these guys get three hits a game and stuff. And maybe I can contribute a little bit, but it’s nice to have such depth and so many talented players up and down the lineup that anybody can take over a game. So, yeah, it’s a lot of weight off your shoulder, I think.”
Gallo was once one of baseball’s most exciting prospects and eventually became the Rangers’ best hitter. But now as just another player in the lineup, Gallo is able to approach the at-bats differently.
“You know, when you felt like you’re the guy, you’re going to get pitched around more and whatnot, just baseball situation stuff,” he explained. “But here I just feel like it’s tough to pitch around anybody because you’re dealing with guys and we got an MVP hitting ninth right now, I mean, it’s insane. So I think that contributes to everybody’s success because it makes it harder for the other team.”
With about one month left before the postseason begins, Gallo is just focused on trying to enjoy his time with the team after being unhappy in New York while making sure his swing is ready to go when the NL Division Series begins.
“I enjoy being here and just trying to win as many games as we can,” he said. “And I know it’s going to be a lot crazier in October. But just trying to stay healthy as a team and keep my swing where I feel like I can contribute throughout the playoffs and see what happens.”
Dave Roberts credits Joey Gallo for capitalizing on opportunity
With four outfielders fighting for two starting spots once the postseason comes around, the Dodgers are evaluating their players for who will give them the best chance to win and what their potential roles might be.
Gallo and Trayce Thompson have both made strong cases to start alongside Mookie Betts, which earned them some praise from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
“They’re trying to make a case as we go forward and it’s important,” Roberts said. “And every game, every opportunity is important. And we’re evaluating every day, you know, because when it comes time, when that point comes, we’re going to have to go with the guys that are playing the best.
“And so it’s my job to continue to run guys out there, give them opportunities, and at some point, we got to make a decision. So we’re not there yet. But Joey and Trayce specifically understand that and really seizing the opportunity.”
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