Joey Gallo Signs with Nationals

Joey Gallo
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The Washington Nationals have added to their outfield mix by agreeing to terms on a deal with Joey Gallo. It is a one-year contract, reports Andrew Golden of The Washington Post. The deal, which is pending a physical, is for $5 million with another $1 million available in performance bonuses. The Nationals signed Gallo in hopes of increasing production out of the middle of their lineup.

Decade of Ups and Downs

The 30-year-old Gallo has been the poster boy for the “three true outcomes” in a career that’s almost a decade old. Having debuted with the Texas Rangers in 2015, he has played in 863 games. Gallo has 198 home runs to his name in that time. He has struck out in 37.9% of his plate appearances, which is much higher than par. For reference, the league average in 2023 was 22.7%. But he’s also drawn walks in 14.8% of his career plate appearances, well beyond the 2023 league average of 8.6%.

It’s somewhat of an unusual combination but one that still allows Gallo to be a productive offensive contributor when taken all together. Though his career slash line of .197/.323/.466 has him below the Mendoza line, the walks and the homers still help him translate that into a wRC+ of 109. He signed a one-year, $11 million deal with the Minnesota Twins for 2023 and batted .177/.301/.440 for a wRC+ of 104. He hit 21 home runs while striking out in 42.8% of his plate appearances.

Fan Favorite in Arlington

It’s perhaps worth highlighting that the tenability of this performance has declined over the years. Gallo had his best run with the Rangers from 2017 to 2019. He hit .217/.336/.533 in that time for a wRC+ of 120. Gallo struggled in 2020 but then bounced back with a strong showing early in 2021, enough for him to be traded to the New York Yankees alongside Joely Rodríguez.

Despite the pop in his bat, the up-and-down nature of his past few seasons makes him a risky bet for a contending club. But for the Nationals, it’s a sensible fit for a number of reasons. Last month, it was reported that the club was looking to add some left-handed power to its lineup. That was a logical target with their outfield mix consisting of Lane ThomasStone GarrettJoey MenesesVictor RoblesJacob Young, and Alex Call, all of whom hit from the right side.

 

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