There’s been rumors that Rangers slugger Joey Gallo could be available in a trade. Should the Brewers be interested?
What the Brewers currently lack in their starting lineup is power hitters. When you look up the definition of “power hitter” in the dictionary, you will find a picture of Joey Gallo. Sounds like a good fit for Milwaukee, right?
In 2017 and 2018, Gallo slugged 40+ homers for the Rangers. In fact, in both those years Gallo hit more home runs than he did singles. That’s quite the feat, but also says a lot about the rest of his offensive profile.
Joey Gallo’s Fit In Milwaukee
If you look for the definition of a “Three True Outcomes” hitter, you will also find a photo of Joey Gallo. Those three outcomes are home runs, walks, and strikeouts.
For his career, the 27 year old Gallo has hit a home run, walked, or struck out 58.4% of the time he walks up to the plate. Even for three true outcome guys, that’s a high number. Gallo’s 37.7% career strikeout rate is certainly alarming for even the average fan, let alone the analytics minded Brewers front office.
So, yes, he’ll strike out a bunch, but can you imagine that powerful left-handed swing in Miller Park? Fans will have to bring baseball gloves up to the Dew Deck as a precaution. He could probably hit 50 homers a year in Milwaukee, something not seen since the days of Prince Fielder.
Gallo also only hits just above the Mendoza Line, with a career .208 average.
The Brewers could handle leaving Luis Urias at third base even though he doesn’t have much of a power profile if they get Gallo to hit in the middle of the order. Gallo has enough power for the both of them.
However, Gallo is not a true first baseman. He’s played over there a little bit through the years, covering 95 total games. He’s handled the position well defensively, and has been a solid defender almost anywhere he plays except for third base.
Gallo just won a Gold Glove in 2020 for his defensive play in right field, and taking a reigning Gold Glover and moving him to a completely different position doesn’t sound like the wisest of decisions. But the Brewers wouldn’t have room for him in the outfield, not with what they’re already paying Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and Avisail Garcia.
Paying the prospect price for two seasons of Gallo, on top of his projected $5.75MM salary in 2021 before he earns another raise in 2022, seems like something that wouldn’t be in the Brewers best interest.
Even though Gallo has 40 home run power, his low batting average and struggles to just put the ball in play don’t make him an attractive target for the Brewers. They had a guy like that once in Chris Carter.
In 2016, Chris Carter hit .222/.321/.499 with an .821 OPS, a 113 OPS+, and 41 homers.
In Gallo’s career, he’s hit .208/.327/.499 with an .825 OPS, a 112 OPS+, and an average of 34 homers a year.
Gallo and Carter are nearly identical hitters in terms of slash line, strikeout rate, OPS, OPS+, and home runs. The only different is Carter is right handed and Gallo is a lefty.
Carter was non-tendered after that 2016 season. The Brewers were in a rebuild and still didn’t want to keep him around. Now that they’re contending, would they try to add his left-handed twin? Doubtful.
As fun as the idea of Joey Gallo mashing home runs in Miller Park may be, this is one trade the Brewers are better off not making.