While the New York Yankees might be looking to salary dump Joey Gallo on a team by including a prospect, the Pittsburgh Pirates should avoid him.
With the New York Yankees acquiring outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals, everyone is now going to propose trades involving a salary dump of Joey Gallo to some poor team. I’m sure that some of those suggested salary dump trades will involve the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, in any case, the Pirates need to avoid Gallo as much as possible unless an insane prospect is attached.
Acquired from the Texas Rangers last trade deadline, Gallo’s 2022 season has been abysmal. He’s hitting .161/.285/.343 with a .284 wOBA, and 83 wRC+. Gallo currently ranks 173 among the 210 batters with at least 250 trips to the plate in wRC+. His .629 OPS is the 27th worst, and his .284 wOBA is in the bottom 50 in the league. Though somehow, he’s still been better than Josh VanMeter and miles better than Yoshi Tsutsugo.
Now, granted, Gallo only has one year of control left, and the upside is visible. Gallo was a quality hitter in the three years prior to 2022, batting for a healthy .209/.351/.477 slash with a .353 wOBA and 121 wRC+ from 2019 to 2021. He hit 70 homers in just 1139 plate appearances, not to mention his extraordinary outfield defense. Gallo racked up +33 defensive runs saved, +9 outs above average while having a +6.1 UZR/150. Gallo was a top 10 outfield defender from 2019-2021.
However, neither are reasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates to consider taking on the brunt of a salary dump trade if there isn’t an upper-tier prospect attached. The Pirates have considerable outfield talent in the minor leagues. Jack Suwinski, Travis Swaggerty, and Bligh Madris are all primary outfield options. Ji-Hwan Bae and Tucupita Marcano can also play the outfield, giving the Pirates two more young and talented utility options. Even Diego Castillo can play a good enough right field.
Now I get the allure of getting a guy who has 40-home run power and gold glove-level defense, but the Pirates need to get the youth movement going. Unless Gallo comes with one of the Yankees’ top 10 organizational prospects, he isn’t worth the Pirates’ time. They already have three guys with 150 or more plate appearances and a sub-85 wRC+. Gallo would only add to that list.
It’s more important to get the current prospects in the system an opportunity for playing time than it is to add a middling prospect and take on whatever Gallo is owed for the rest of the 2022 campaign. The Pirates would be better off keeping Jake Marisnick than taking on Gallo’s remaining salary with a low/mid-tier prospect attached, and no way do the Pirates get a quality prospect from the Yankees when Gallo is only controlled through 2022.