Blue Jays Interested in Joey Gallo: Should They Be?

Jul 12, 2021; Denver, CO, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Joey Gallo hits during the 2021 MLB Home Run Derby. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 12, 2021; Denver, CO, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Joey Gallo hits during the 2021 MLB Home Run Derby. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

As the trade deadline—and the Rogers Centre Opener—approaches this Friday, the Blue Jays continue to look to add to their roster. Reports have indicated that Texas slugger Joey Gallo is now on their radar. Should he be?

As has been discussed ad nauseam, the Jays need pitching, pitching, and more pitching if they are to have a true shot at securing a playoff spot. Simply adding another big bat does not make the pitching problems go away.

But let’s have a look at the pros and cons of adding Joey Gallo.

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On the offensive side of the ball, he is undoubtedly having a solid year, no doubt; his 24 HRs rank him tied for 8th in the American League and his .864 OPS would rank 3rd on the Blue Jays. But he also strikes out a lot. A lot.

To this point in the season, the Blue Jays have managed to lead the majors in HR/game at 1.56, while also being tied for second in fewest strikeouts per game, at just 8.07. This is a very rare combination and has allowed the Jays to place second in MLB with a .264 team batting average while being third overall in runs/game with 5.16.

Gallo will add a lot of swing and miss to the Toronto batting order, possibly changing the dynamic.

In the field, let’s give Gallo some props. He actually leads all major league outfielders in Outs Above Average, so, yeah, that would be a good thing. In fact, Teoscar Hernandez is tied for 87th in this revealing statistic, so the team would see a defensive upgrade in the outfield on many nights if Hernandez is consigned to DH most of the time.

Gallo also provides great flexibility in the field, playing all three outfield positions, plus 1st and some 3rd base (before you get too excited about that last part, however, keep in mind that Gallo has not played 3rd base in the majors since 2017).

Joey Gallo is on the Blue Jays’ radar. Should he be?

The price tag for Gallo will be steep. His abilities, as stated above are high-end, plus he has another year of control after this one, becoming a free agent in 2023. The Rangers won’t settle for anything less than a prime prospect for a proven two-time All-Star and two-time 40 HR hitter who plays 5 different positions.

I think the point was made earlier that the Blue Jays offence is not too shabby right now, or, for that matter, going forward. If the Ross Atkins/Mark Shapiro brain trust is going to dip into the Jays’ prime prospect list to try to push this team forward, there can be no doubt that it needs to be used to acquire pitching. Starting pitching. Relief pitching. Any kind of near-All-Star level pitching. This is the area that’s holding Toronto back from being a serious contender.

Besides, with only a 25% chance of making the playoffs, as per Fangraphs Playoff Odds, and even then, facing a one-and-done Wild Card face-off with either the Red Sox or Rays (assuming they have somehow clambered over the A’s, Mariners, and Yankees), is it really worth sacrificing one of those high-end prospects for that shot in the dark? Without a serious pitching upgrade, the chances of beating those 25% odds are extremely remote.

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Here’s hoping that the added excitement upon the team’s return to the Rogers Centre after a long two-year absence, plus a bit of a pitching boost by the deadline, will be enough to spark this team to a fantastic finish. But spending prime prospect capital on yet another hitter? With the odds stated above? It’s not worth the gamble.