Yankees Acquire Joey Gallo From Rangers In Blockbuster Trade
Editor's Note: The story has been updated to reflect the adjusted trade. What was once an eight-player deal was reduced to a six-player swap.
The Yankees got the big lefthanded bat they needed.
The Yankees acquired Joey Gallo from the Rangers on Wednesday in a blockbuster six-player deal. The Yankees also acquired lefthander Joely Rodriguez from Texas and sent six prospects to the Rangers in return: righthander Glenn Otto,, second baseman Ezequiel Duran, shortstop Josh Smith and second baseman/outfielder Trevor Hauver.
The deal is not yet official.
Duran (No. 6), Smith (No. 8), Otto (No. 20) and Hauver (No. 22) were all set to rank in the Yankees Midseason Top 30 Prospects.
Details of the deal were initially reported by The Athletic’s Levi Weaver, Lindsay Adler and Ken Rosenthal and ESPN’s Jeff Passan and confirmed by Baseball America's Josh Norris. The YES Network's Jack Curry reported the changes to the trade. The trade is not yet official.
Ezequiel Duran, 2B
Duran hit .290/.374/.533 with 12 home runs, 48 RBIs and 12 stolen bases for High-A Hudson Valley this year. He is a short but strong righthanded hitter with a balanced swing, plenty of bat speed and sneaky power. He is an aggressive hitter in the strike zone but has improved his pitch recognition to lay off more pitches out of the strike zone. Duran is driven by his bat. He is an adequate defensive second baseman with good hands, but he sits back on balls too much and doesn’t put himself in good positions to make plays. He shows enough flashes of potential to stay at the position for now.
Josh Smith, SS
A second-round pick out of Louisiana State in 2019, Smith hit .324/.448/.641 with nine home runs, 39 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 39 games between the two Class A levels and was one of the biggest risers in the Yankees system. He has a long history of making contact and rarely swings and misses, and he’s added the strength to hit balls harder and shed the “light-hitting shortstop” label he previously had. Smith primarily hits line drives, but he’s added a bit more launch angle to his swing and has started to hit more balls over the fence. Defensively, Smith is an average shortstop with solid hands and excellent instincts, although some scouts believe he’ll move to second base because he’s not particularly twitchy. Smith has a history of injuries, including a stress reaction in his back in college, but he’s performed when healthy and has a long track record of hitting for average while playing solid defense in the middle infield.
Glenn Otto, RHP
A fifth-round pick out of Rice in 2017, Otto took a jump this year after reworking his delivery and adding a slider to his arsenal. Otto’s fastball sits at 92-93 mph and touches 95-96. Though he sat at the same velocity in previous years, he improved the timing and extension in his delivery to give his fastball more riding life and get more swings and misses this year. He can pitch up the zone with his fastball or locate it to both sides of the plate with occasional armside run. Otto’s slider has rapidly developed into a pitch he can land for strikes or get swings and misses with. It’s effective against both lefties and righties and has already become his go-to secondary offering Otto also has a potentially average curveball that is effective against righthanders and his mid-80s changeup has a chance to be an above-average pitch. His control has improved with his delivery fixes to give him a viable chance to start. Otto’s fastball straightens out at times and he still has some things to clean up in his delivery, but everything is trending up. He was recently promoted to Triple-A and is not far from his major league debut.
Trevor Hauver, 2B/OF
The Yankees drafted Hauver in the fourth round out of Arizona State last year. He hit .288/.445/.498 with nine home runs and 49 RBIs in 66 games for Low-A Tampa this year in his pro debut. Hauver has an uphill bat path geared toward loft and hits the ball extremely hard. His average exit velocity this year is 92 mph and over half of the balls he’s hit have been over 95 mph. He hit six home runs in the first five games of the season and hasn’t gotten many pitches to hit since, although he’s still making hard contact when he does get a pitch to drive. Hauver has primarily played second base this season and has seen time at third base and the outfield in his career. He’s a below-average defender at every spot who lacks range and struggles with accuracy on his throws. He’s a below-average runner who may be able to survive at second base with defensive shifts, although he’ll likely always be a liability. Hauver’s bat is good enough to make him a potential starter on a second-division team or an oft-used reserve on a first-division team. He should make the move to High-A sometime this season.
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Joey Gallo, OF
Gallo has long had some of the biggest power in the majors, but that often came with extremely low batting averages and overly high strikeout totals. Since MLB announced its crackdown on foreign substances however, Gallo has thrived. Since June 4, one day after MLB informed owners of the planned crackdown, Gallo has hit .248/.406/.656 with 16 home runs and 30 RBIs in 40 games. He excels against low-spin fastballs and struggled with high-spin fastballs, so the reduced spin rates across the league have been a boon to his production. In addition to giving the Yankees a needed lefthanded power source, he makes them a significantly better defensive team. He is a reigning Gold Glove winner with impressive athleticism and a cannon for an arm in the outfield. He played right field for the Rangers but has experience playing center and left field as well, which will come in handy with Aaron Judge locked into right field for the Yankees when he’s healthy.
Joely Rodriguez, LHP
Rodriguez's 2021 statistics look relatively ugly (1-3, 5.93) and he's been eaten up by righthanded hitters (.333/.384/.481). Lefties this year are hitting only .176/.286/.206 against him, but Rodriguez has shown equal ability to retire righties and lefties in the past. Despite his struggles, the Rangers have regularly used him in a setup role. Rodriguez can get hitters to chase his high-80s changeup, but his 93-95 mph fastball and mid-80s slider are pretty ordinary.