Joey Gallo on his time with the Yankees: ‘I didn’t live up to expectations’
The official end of Joey Gallo’s Yankee tenure appears to be on the horizon. MLB’s trade deadline is next week, and the organization has already acquired a new left-handed outfielder in Andrew Benintendi.
While Gallo will likely wear a different uniform for the foreseeable future, he knows he’ll be thinking about his time in New York for the rest of his life.
“Every time I see a Yankees hat, every time I see a Yankees jersey, that’s something I’m going to have to figure out,” Gallo said at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. “I didn’t play well as a Yankee. I would have liked to have it.
Gallo is hitting .159/.282/.339 with 12 home runs this season and has gone from starting outfielder to bench player with a ticket out of the Bronx, though when and where next is still to be determined. In 139 games for the Yankees this past calendar year, Gallo hit .159/.291/.368 for a .660 OPS, a significant drop from the .833 OPS he had in seven years with the Rangers. while hitting .211/ .336/.497 for them.
When the Yankees acquired Gallo, they had a large enough sample of results to understand that the player they were getting was offensive, solid defensively, and had a tough-to-monitor takeout rate, even when creating goals. an All-Star first. half in 2021. That’s who Gallo is: He has a swing uppercut that causes pitchers to regularly find ways to exploit his low-contact profile, and he’s a southpaw hitter who faces change in all situations. appearances except a handful of plates each season.
Gallo is a player who comes with a lot of statistical idiosyncrasies. This season, his contact rates and strikeout rates aren’t significantly different from previous years, and he still hits the ball hard when he makes contact. But his barrel rates and overall output velocities have dropped significantly, and the results don’t show against the power he can seemingly generate when he actually hits a bullet he can face.
“When I see my numbers, I feel like I played better than that,” Gallo said. “There are a few things mechanically that I think I could have watched better. Baseball is a strange game. You can do something slightly wrong, and in baseball you start doing it every day, and it starts to become a habit that you don’t notice. I just feel like something here has gone haywire, haywire.
Gallo said Thursday he’s not sure what “low bottom” looks like in baseball sense, but “in the major leagues it’s probably close to my experiences” in New York. With the possibility of a move that would take him out of the Bronx next week, Gallo appeared in a significantly better headspace than he was in early June, when he answered a question about the underpinning factors. underlyings leading to consistently poor results with a simple, deflated response: “I’m just not good enough.”
The question of “what went wrong for Joey Gallo in New York,” however, isn’t sufficiently answered by a lesson in mechanical maintenance. It’s been a tough year mentally for Gallo, and it seems to have shown up in the numbers more than any little mechanical oddity.
“I think it’s a bit of a combination,” manager Aaron Boone said earlier this week. “I think he tried to mechanically work out some things that didn’t totally click for him. And also, I think he carried the brunt of the struggle here. I think he carried that burden. .
“It’s a tough place to not play well,” Gallo said of New York. “It’s hard to deal with, and at the end of the day, you want to make the fans happy and proud. So when you constantly get bad feedback from them, it’s hard. It doesn’t make you feel good about it. your skin. But it’s something I needed to learn, and I consider it part of my growth as a person and as a player.
Gallo came to New York from Texas, where he was the star of an underperforming team, playing in front of a crowd that had almost no one else to consider a star and graced him with his streak because He was a homegrown talent, and they finally saw a handful of productive seasons from him to end. Throughout the past year as a Yankee, Gallo said he felt the pressure to be “that guy” for Rangers fans, and he was rewarded for his efforts with patience and appreciation even during his turbobar sequences.
As a player, Gallo is self-aware. He understands that his contact skills are well below league standard and finds it important to add value in things like base running and defense to help make up for his still low batting average. He knows his striking stats for the season are usually backed up by a few hot scorched Earth streaks, the likes of which he hasn’t done a single time since arriving in New York.
But for all of Gallo’s awareness of his own game and his relationship with Texas fans who he says have come to understand him, he came to New York seemingly naive about how his shortcomings would be viewed in that market. , and in this scenario. .
Most Yankees fans probably didn’t watch Gallo closely while he was with the Rangers. He was the most popular name available on the trade market last year, and he had recently made a trip to the All-Star Game when he was traded to the Yankees. There’s a difference between understanding that Gallo is a swing-and-miss type player — which Yankees fans might assume he might look like an Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton type — and acknowledging the extreme withdrawal tendencies brought by Gallo and resist numerous hopeless at-bats to get to the homer’s hot streak.
Gallo appeared at times blindsided and overwhelmed by the extent of the negative feedback he received as a Yankee. When asked to put himself in the shoes of the fans who pay to see him take four at bats in one night, Gallo says he thinks he “would like to play better, but still try to see that he plays hard.”
He added that he “understands the comments I received. It wasn’t what we expected when I was traded here.
Gallo is now trying to use his struggles in New York as a way to grow as a player, noting that “there’s nowhere else it’s going to be as difficult to play as this place, especially when I’m wrestling “.
But while he hopes to use his experiences in New York to become less swayed by critics in the future, the reality is that the comments match his poor results.
“I feel bad,” Gallo said. “It’s something I’m really going to have to live with for the rest of my life. It’s going to be tough. I haven’t played well, I haven’t lived up to expectations. And it’s a tough pill to take. swallow.
(Top photo: Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)