Outfielder Joey Gallo and the Minnesota Twins agreed on a one-year, $11 million contract Friday, sources told ESPN, giving the vaunted slugger a bridge year to rebuild his value after a struggle-filled 2022 season.
Gallo, 29, was a prized trade-deadline acquisition for the New York Yankees in August 2021 but never found his footing in the Bronx, hitting .159/.291/.368 with 25 home runs and 46 RBIs in 140 games. The Yankees sent him to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the 2022 deadline, and he batted .162/.277/.393 with seven homers in 44 games. Gallo's final line in 2022: .160/.280/.357 with 19 home runs and 163 strikeouts in 350 at-bats.
Batting average never has been a hallmark for Gallo, a career .199 hitter. Before his trade to New York, he had established himself as the archetypal Three True Outcomes player, homering, walking or striking out in more than 58% of his plate appearances. Gallo's Brobdingnagian power remains, as does his eagle eye at the plate, ability to play surprisingly good outfield defense at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds and baserunning acumen.
Still, Gallo's bat will make or break his effectiveness. In his first two full seasons of 2017 and 2018, he hit 41 and 40 home runs for the Texas Rangers, who selected him in the sandwich round of the 2012 draft. He made his first All-Star team in 2019, when an oblique strain and broken hamate bone ended a season in which he was hitting .253/.389/.598 with 22 home runs in 70 games.
Gallo always has carried the potential for stardom, and Minnesota is hoping he can add thunder to a lineup in need of a mashing bat. The Twins, sources said, have continued to evaluate trade opportunities with their everyday players, including Luis Arraez, the American League batting champion. In Gallo, the Twins get the sort of high-upside talent who with one good season could hit a free agent jackpot.
In his eight years in the big leagues, Gallo is hitting .199/.325/.469 with 177 home runs in 752 games. The $11 million represents the most he will have made in one season.