Aaron Boone raved over the Yankees’ latest big-name acquisition, and the manager took pains to stress that Joey Gallo will serve as a cure to, rather than a promoter of, his team’s lack of athleticism.
“We’re incredibly excited to have two players that we feel like are really going to help us,” Boone said of Gallo and lefty reliever Joely Rodriguez, before the Yankees concluded their series with the Rays at Tropicana Field. “Obviously the talk of Joey Gallo, look, I’m thrilled he’s coming to join the fold. This is obviously a tremendous player.
“Hopefully people are talking about what a tremendous all-around player we’re getting. A really good athlete. A guy that runs the bases, has some speed. That’s a really good defender in the outfield. And obviously the tremendous patience, the power that he has.”
Gallo and Rodriguez are expected to join the Yankees Friday night in Miami for the team’s series opener against the Marlins. They came aboard, along with their full salaries paid by the Rangers, in return for minor leaguers Ezequiel Duran, Trevor Hauver, Glenn Otto and Josh Smith. The Yankees announced the trade just after midnight on Thursday.
While Boone and Gallo conversed briefly on Wednesday night, the manager said that he wanted to speak more at length with Gallo before committing to his role. Nevertheless, Boone acknowledged that a sensible fit for Gallo would be as an everyday left fielder, and he mused that Gallo could hit as high as second in the team’s lineup.
As for the lefty-swinging Gallo’s “three true outcomes” approach to hitting — he leads the American League with 74 walks, ranks second with 125 strikeouts and his 25 homers knot him with Seattle’s Mitch Haniger for fifth –Boone downplayed those concerns, saying, “I’m not concerned that we’re adding a guy that gets on (base) 38 percent of the time this year (he has a .379 on-base percentage) and hits the ball over the fence.”
The move complicates the long-discussed plans to give some outfield reps to designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton, although Boone said Stanton could still play the field this coming weekend as the Yankees play the Marlins under National League rules.
As for the 29-year-old Rodriguez, who owns a 5.93 ERA this season while limiting lefty hitters to hitting .176/.282/.206 in 39 plate appearances, Boone said, “a lot of our left-handed pitchers are guys that in some cases are better at getting righties out. So this is a guy that’s been really good at left on left. He’s a tough matchup for lefties with us bringing over a guy like (Clay) Holmes, who’s been a guy who’s really tough on righties. Maybe these guys can complement each other a little bit and hopefully take advantage of some situations we can put them in.”
Asked whether he expected any more reinforcements by Friday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline, Boone said, “Talking to Cash (Brian Cashman) this morning, they’re set up in the war room (in Tampa) already and I know still exploring things. I wouldn’t rule anything out. It always takes a couple of teams to tango and agree, but I know those conversations are continuing heavily as we speak.”