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Milwaukee Brewers trade target: Joey Gallo

Elite power and on-base skills along with defensive versatility

MLB: Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers are ranked 29th in baseball in team batting average (.223). They are ranked 25th in team slugging percentage (.383) and 22nd in team OPS (.697). The Brewers are essentially middle of the road in most other team offensive categories. The addition of Willy Adames has done a great deal to improve the offense, and this team’s overall quality of play.

Even with the additions of Adames and Rowdy Tellez, Milwaukee’s greatest need might just be an impact bat. One of the more intriguing bats being made available for trade might just be Joey Gallo.

The idea of a Joey Gallo trade to Milwaukee has come up in other baseball publications. At Fangraphs, Dan Szymborski broke down a trade scenario that looked like this with some further interesting commentary:

The Milwaukee Brewers acquire OF Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers for 1B Keston Hiura, P Ethan Small, OF Korry Howell, and SS Eduardo Garcia

I love Hiura and still think he has a ton of upside remaining, but his ongoing contact issues are so severe that he can’t help the Brewers right now. He’s at the point where he’d be best served by a team sticking him at DH and letting him focus solely on hitting, and the Rangers need offensive talent wherever they can find it. At this point, I’d much rather have Howell than Tristen Lutz; ZiPS still isn’t budging on thinking the latter will ever be better than replacement level. Garrett Mitchell is too high of an ask, and Aaron Ashby is likely already useful to the Brewers on the major league roster.

Ideally, you’d want Gallo in right field, where he’s excellent, rather than give that value away at first. Realistically, Daniel Vogelbach and Rowdy Tellez are complementary talents rather than long-term starters. And Gallo’s left-handed bat would absolutely play in American Family Field just as Prince Fielder’s and Eric Thames‘ did.

Whether you agree or disagree with this trade scenario, it is certainly an intriguing trade, and having Joey Gallo in the Brewers lineup would give the Brewers an electrifying bat who can play multiple positions. Now Gallo has a reputation of being a guy who hits a lot of towering bombs but strikes out the rest of the time and hits for a low average.

Well Gallo does hit for a low average, strikes out a lot, and hits towering home runs. This year, however, he has already accumulated 3.2 fWAR and 3.9 bWAR. He is posting a .380 OBP. He has an OPS+ of 138 and a wRC+ of 141. He is elite in a lot of offensive and defensive areas, while also being at the bottom of the barrel in others (primarily those things that lend themselves to striking out).

MLB Percentiles Joey Gallo
Baseball Savant

The change that has seemingly taken place in Gallo’s game is that he is able to get on base at an elite level. In his first few years in the league, that just was not he case. The turnaround seemed to take place in 2019, which was a year that saw him produce a .389 OBP for the season while also slugging .598. In 2020, Gallo was awful as was the case for many in MLB.

In 2021, he is on pace to put up numbers similar to 2019, especially in OBP (.384). Much of his OBP comes from walks. His BB% is 19.5%. He also has 24 home runs on the season. If Gallo is an on-base machine along with his power, he becomes an exceptional asset. Add to the fact that the ball would fly off his bat in American Family Field. 50 home runs is never out of the question for this slugger.

His versatility on defense is key as well. The only position Gallo has played this year is right field, but he has played every outfield position at some point in his career. He came up as a third baseman, and he saw plenty of time at first base as well. A caveat, he has not played third or first base since 2017 and 2018 respectively. Nonetheless in a Brewers uniform, Gallo would likely play 2, 3, and maybe 4 different positions.

Where he obviously offers the greatest value is at first base. Rowdy Tellez and Daniel Vogelbach have some similar qualities to Gallo, but neither has 50 home run potential or get on base like he does. And first base would be the place Gallo would likely get most of his playing time in 2021, while putting in some time at other positions.

What gives Gallo even more value to the Milwaukee Brewers is the fact that he has one more year of control beyond this season. Avisail Garcia will be looking for a new contract in 2022, leaving a vacancy in right field. Gallo would fit nicely into that spot for the 2022 Brewers.

Joey Gallo would provide Milwaukee with a real power presence that they are desperate to have at this point. He would offer protection for Christian Yelich, and he would deepen their lineup. A lineup that looks like this wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

  1. Kolten Wong
  2. Christian Yelich
  3. Willy Adames
  4. Joey Gallo
  5. Avisail Garcia
  6. Omar Narvaez
  7. Luis Urias
  8. Lorenzo Cain/Jackie Bradley Jr.

Whether the Brewers are in on Gallo or not is not known. The Padres and Yankees are said to be involved in talks. Plus Texas is trying to work out an extension with him. Regardless, Milwaukee could use another bat, and Joey Gallo is one of the better offensive weapons available.

Baseball statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference, Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, and ESPN