“A year ago, he was worth a lot in the industry, [he] was traded for a lot,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “The true level of talent remains. We want to bring him here, to bring him with our guys, there is a real captivating story behind it.
The Dodgers get: BY Joey Gallo
The Yankees get: RHP Clayton Beeter (No. 15 Dodgers prospect)
The Dodgers entered the day hoping to complete a successful trade for Juan Soto. With Soto joining rival Padres, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman had to move on to another target.
Gallo, a two-time All-Star, had a nightmarish season with the Yankees, batting .159 with 12 homers. The 28-year-old is known for his power but he hasn’t been able to harness it this season. His average exit speed is 88.4 mph this season, the lowest since the 2016 season when he was limited to just 17 games.
The outfielder is also known for his high swing-and-miss rate as he led the Majors in strikeouts last season. It’s become an even bigger issue this year, as Gallo has struck 106 times in 233 at-bats. His strikeout rate of 38.8% this season ranks in the bottom 1% in the league. During his short stint with the Yankees, Gallo pulled out 194 strikes in 140 games.
Despite Gallo’s tough struggles over the past year, the Dodgers are hoping a change of scenery will help the slugger return to his old form. Prior to joining the Yankees last July, Gallo was an All-Star and hit 25 home runs with an .869 OPS with the Rangers. He was also an All-Star in 2019, posting a career-high .986 OPS.
“I think, of course, [he has] uncommon elite power,” Friedman said. “Really good decision-making in the box, a really good defender in the outfield who has swing-and-miss in his game, that’s for sure. I think coming into a different environment, our hitters are as good as they can be. … And throughout the year, we’ve just been a little short in the outfield. So adding a really good defensive outfielder helps too.
How the Dodgers find consistent playing time for Gallo will be interesting. With Chris Taylor still on the injured list, Gallo will split his time with Trayce Thompson in left field. Gallo, who hits .102 against lefties, will not play lefties. He does, however, have 11 of his 12 homers on right-handers.
When Taylor returns, Gallo’s role could take a hit. The Dodgers could also play Taylor or Thompson more in center field, relegating a struggling Cody Bellinger to a platoon role. James Outman, who is off to a historic start to his career, could be the odd man once Taylor returns.
Until then, however, the Dodgers have resolved their impasse by sending outfielder Jake Lamb to the Mariners for a player to be named later or cash.
Lamb has posted a .770 OPS and hit two homers in 25 games with the Dodgers this season. Given that Gallo is a free agent at the end of the season, the Dodgers see this move as low risk and very rewarding.
“He’s going to play and I have to find a way to allocate playing time for all these guys,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “My request to him was just to embrace this new opportunity, a new beginning.”
Beeter, 23, has a 5.75 ERA in 18 appearances (16 starts) with Double-A Tulsa this season.