Mariners Hot Stove Hype: Why Joey Gallo could be a fit in Seattle

Dec 1, 2022, 10:20 AM | Updated: 10:35 am
Mariners Joey Gallo...
Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers hits a three-run home run against the Kansas City Royals on June 26, 2021. (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

The MLB offseason continues on, and for the Mariners the focus is on adding to their lineup ahead of the 2023 season.

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It’s clear that the Mariners are looking to add to both the middle of their infield as well as at corner outfield, and an interesting name for the latter spot used to be a standout player in the AL West.

That would be Joey Gallo, a two-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner who has seen his career trajectory go downhill since being traded by the Texas Rangers to the New York Yankees in 2021. After some standout years in Texas, Gallo struggled in New York in both 2021 and 2022 before being traded to the L.A. Dodgers, where he also failed to get back on track.

Now, the slugging corner outfielder is a free agent, and it was recently reported by Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times that Gallo almost wound up in Seattle at the 2022 trade deadline.

Now that he’s on the open market, what should Mariners fans know about Gallo? Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Wyman and Bob continued their Hot Stove Hype series on Tuesday when the duo talked about him with Rangers radio broadcaster Jared Sandler.

Sandler thinks Gallo winding up somewhere like Seattle would make a lot of sense for the former All-Star.

“I don’t mean this as a slight to Seattle, but Seattle in terms of media market and attention is not New York. That’s not to say Mariners fans aren’t great fans – I think the atmosphere at Mariners games the last couple years has been outstanding … but it’s not New York,” Sandler said.

Gallo’s time in New York was a massive struggle, as evidenced by a .159/.291/.368 slash line in 140 games between two seasons. As such, Gallo was a frequent target of criticism by Yankees fans and New York media members.

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Gallo, is “for better and for worse” a “very aware” person, Sandler said, adding that he thinks the pressure of playing for the Yankees combined with his on-field struggles really got to Gallo.

“I don’t know that he necessarily wanted to go to New York – obviously he got traded there and it wasn’t his choice. But I think you ask people around the Rangers organization, the organization that knows him best, and I don’t think you’re gonna have a lot of people who are surprised that he had a tough time with New York and that fanbase and the added pressure,” Sandler said.

Gallo isn’t someone who should be an “alpha” on a team, Sandler said, but if you get him out of a top-end media market and don’t have him slotted in the third or fourth spot in your lineup, he might be able to thrive once again.

“You’ve got a chance to get the guy the Rangers got, who was a two-time All-Star, who was a legitimate impact player defensively with his arm and his athleticism. He wasn’t going to hit .260 but was going to be able to hit the ball out of the yard 40 times,” Sandler said. “And when he was at his best with the Rangers, he was getting on base at a high rate (with walks). He lost that with New York, and I think the pressure was a big part of that. But I just can’t imagine that all that talent has just gone away. I just think he’s a guy who needs the right situation. And you can use that as a criticism, and that’s absolutely fair. But when he’s in the right situation, he’s a guy who I think could really impact a team.”

Gallo is a pull-heavy hitter from the left side of the plate, so naturally there’s conversation about whether the elimination of the defensive shift in 2023 will allow him to produce better numbers. Sandler had some thoughts on that, too.

“I don’t know how to quantify just mentally for a guy like Joey when he doesn’t see three infielders on the right side or two on the right side and a guy in short right field how that will impact him,” he said. “One of his big issues is just swinging and missing and the shift isn’t gonna help that, but he certainly lost some hits because of it.”

Gallo strikes out at a higher clip than any hitter in baseball, but the tradeoff is that when he’s at his best he makes loud contact, hits a lot of home runs and also works a lot of walks. Additionally, Gallo is a well above-average defender in the outfield.

A concern with that defense, though, isn’t the skillset, Sandler said, but rather that Gallo is a very large man at 6 foot 5 and 250 pounds.

“He’s not someone you want to stick at first base and he’s not someone who you want to DH. He is a really, really impressive athlete,” Sandler said. “But when you are a bigger-body guy and the defense is more of a thing for you – and he runs the bases really well – you wonder about the body, you wonder about the longevity.”

For the Mariners, though, if they’re interested in Gallo this offseason, they may not have to worry too much about that longevity. Sandler sees Gallo as a one-year signing.

“I think in some respects he could be the perfect one-year ‘let’s reenter the market next season’ type of guy, and if that’s the case, he could be an awesome fit for a lot of teams, the Mariners included,” he said. “If you’re asking me am I comfortable signing him to a four-year deal or five-year deal? No, I don’t know that I am.”

Listen to the whole conversation with Sandler at this link or in the player below.

More from Mariners Hot Stove Hype

• The Athletic’s Tim Britton on former Mets OF Michael Conforto
• The Ringer’s John Jastremski on Yankees trade chip Torres, FA OF Benintendi
• Padres broadcaster Jesse Agler on free agents Jurickson Profar, Wil Myers

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