Texas Rangers: Should Joey Gallo Be on the Trade Block?
By Kenneth Nash
The Texas Rangers are sellers in this year’s trade market and the deals are starting to heat up. With that, should Joey Gallo be on the move this year?
Our very own Travis Koch tackled this subject somewhat earlier this month when he asked whether Joey Gallo was worth keeping around. However with trade season heating up, I wanted to approach this with perhaps a different tone.
The Texas Rangers are at a crossroads now where they have to make a decision on who is a part of their long term plans. For awhile now, it seemed that Joey Gallo was a cornerstone of Texas’ future. However, the emergence of Ronald Guzman as a stellar defensive first baseman and a left handed power bat has moved Gallo to left field. Now Joey has held his own in left field. Defensively he’s not the best but he has without a doubt improved. What has not improved however is Gallo’s production at the plate. His power is still there and perhaps is at it’s peak. But his strikeout rate has gone from abysmal to embarrassing. After finishing second in strikeouts in 2017 at 196, just 12 behind Aaron Judge in 10 fewer games, Gallo has made a hard charge for first in 2018. Through just 71 games, Gallo has struck out a ridiculous 106 times. I’ll do the math for you, that’s nearly a strikeout and a half per game. He’s far and away the strikeout leader this year and shows no signs of slowing down. His average is also on pace for a career low batting average, .198, and an on-base percentage below .300. That’s unacceptable plain and simple. He’s become a liability at the plate which is where his value always was.
I referenced this in the paragraph above but to refresh, Ronald Guzman, in my mind, has solidified himself as the Rangers first baseman of the future. He’s been a better hitter to this point in the year with an average 30 points higher than Gallo’s. While he may strikeout a lot, it’s not nearly to the degree of Joey. So to summarize, better first baseman, possibly a better hitter. That’s not good for Gallo.
Now the first base conflict isn’t really a problem with Gallo playing left field. However the Texas Rangers have a bit of a log jam in the outfield just around the corner with their three top prospects all being outfielders. Now Leody Taveras and Julio Pablo Martinez, the number one and three prospects, aren’t MLB ready so you’re delayed at least a year there. But Willie Calhoun is and defensively can really only play left field. He probably is your DH of the future but with Choo still under contract and not going anywhere, he’s not taking that role right now. So if you want to call Calhoun up, that leaves one odd man out, Joey Gallo.
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Now this all hinges on bringing up Willie Calhoun, but I feel it’s time. The Gallo experiment has failed and if there’s something the Rangers have excess of, it’s power hitting lefties who strikeout a lot. Joey Gallo is expendable.
Is There Any Trade Value Left?
This is where we run into a bit of trouble. Does Joey Gallo have much trade value left? Teams have seen what he is. A left handed bat that may be the most powerful in the league but one that also is going to give you a lot of unproductive outs. This is where the Texas Rangers have to decide what return offsets losing a relatively young slugger. Spoiler alert, it’s not going to be a top prospect. To add difficulty, a top contender isn’t likely to be interested in Gallo. The market for Joey is small and defined. A team with a shot at making a run who needs power and a first baseman. That is a difficult team to find. But, if the Texas Rangers can get a mid-level prospect and maybe a development project or two, it’s worth moving on from Joey and redefining the future of the club.
Next: Texas Rangers: Top 5 Players Most Likely to be Traded
Do you think the Rangers should trade away Joey Gallo? Let us know in the comments below.