Wednesday's MLB: Yanks reach deal to get slugger Gallo from Texas, per source
The New York Yankees have reached a deal to get All-Star slugger Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers, a person familiar with the trade told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday night because the deal had not yet been announced and was subject to approval of medical records of the players involved.
Gallo, 27, would give the heavily right-handed Yankees a much-needed lefty power bat. With switch-hitting center fielder Aaron Hicks hurt, second baseman Rougned Odor and outfielder Brett Gardner have been the only left-handed hitters to see substantial playing time.
Gallo is hitting .223 with 25 homers, 55 RBIs and a major league-leading 74 walks. He has been a Gold Glove right fielder for Texas, but presumably would play left for the Yankees, who have Aaron Judge as their regular right fielder.
Gallo had repeatedly expressed his desire to stay with rebuilding and last-place Texas, the team that took him with the 39th overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft. But he was scratched from the starting lineup only moments before the start of Wednesday night’s home game against Arizona, with the Rangers saying the move was for non-medical reasons.
Judge also was scratched from the starting lineup Wednesday night, a day after returning from the COVID-19 injured list, but struck out as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning against Tampa Bay.
Gallo is owed $2.2 million from his $6.2 million salary. He is eligible for arbitration next winter and can became a free agent after the 2022 season.
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The two-time All-Star is a career .211 hitter in seven seasons, but launches a lot of longballs. He hit 41 home runs in 2017 and 40 in 2018.
In his final game with the Rangers on Tuesday night, the 6-foot-5 slugger hit his first home run since the All-Star break, a towering three-run shot to put Texas ahead on the way to a 5-4 victory over the Diamondbacks to end a 12-game losing streak. Gallo also had two more assists from right field.
Gallo gave what became a prophetic goodbye to Rangers fans when he started thanking them in a postgame interview Tuesday night on the team's television broadcast. He told reporters after that he didn't want to miss an opportunity to thank everyone.
“We don’t know the future and I don’t want to like miss an opportunity to tell everybody I appreciate it,” Gallo said. “I’ve been 10 years here. I remember last year when I almost got traded, there was like a lot that I was thinking, ‘Man, I wish I would have done this, I wish I would have said something.’ ... I want the fans to know that I appreciate everything they’ve done for me and supporting me, and buying my jerseys and whatnot. You know, I really appreciate it.”
Gallo has more outfield assists (four) than hits (three) since participating in the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby two weeks ago. He is just 3 for 34 in those 11 games, and his homer for a 5-2 lead against the Diamondbacks snapped an 0-for-16 slide.
Over his last 12 games before the break, Gallo had 11 homers and was the first Rangers player to go deep 10 times in a span of 10 games. He had homers of 462 and 450 feet in the same game.
The Yankees began the day nine games behind first-place Boston in the AL East and trailing Tampa Bay, Oakland and Seattle in the race for two wild cards.
The last-place Rangers are on pace for their first 100-loss season since 1973, the franchise's second season in Texas.
More of Wednesday's MLB
► Marlins trade OF Marte to A's and RHP García to Astros
Buried in last place in the NL East, the Miami Marlins made an impact on the AL West race with two trades Wednesday.
Miami sent right-handed reliever Yimi García to the Houston Astros, and traded outfielder Starling Marte to the Oakland Athletics.
The Astros sent outfielder Bryan De La Cruz and right-hander Austin Pruitt to Miami. First-place Houston began the day with a six-game lead over Oakland in the AL West.
Oakland gave up left-hander Jesús Luzardo for Marte. The Marlins will cover nearly all of Marte's remaining contract for 2021, and he can become a free agent after this season.
“We felt like Starling was frankly the best position player that was out there on the market," A's general manager David Forst said before his team's game in San Diego. “We’ve always said when the team performs and puts itself in a playoff position, it’s on us to do whatever we can to try and help them.”
The A's also acquired left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin this week from the Chicago Cubs.
“We’ve added two really solid pieces to help this team over the next two months,” Forst said.
For Miami, building for the future was a priority for general manager Kim Ng.
“In terms of next year, there are still moves we’d like to make,” she said. “This is not a finished group for next year. These are some of the first steps we’ve got to take.”
Marte, 32, is batting .306 with an .859 OPS and 22 stolen bases in 25 attempts. It’s the third time in 18 months that Marte has been traded, and he joins an outfield that also includes Ramón Laureano and Mark Canha.
► Reds acquire reliever Givens from Rockies for prospects
The Cincinnati Reds added more help for their struggling bullpen by acquiring right-hander Mychal Givens from the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday in exchange for two pitching prospects.
The Rockies got right-hander Case Williams and right-hander Noah Davis, the Reds’ 26th-rated prospect.
On Tuesday night, the Reds acquired relievers Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson from the New York Yankees for a player to be named.
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The 31-year-old Givens, who is due to be a free agent after the season, has a 2.73 ERA and 27.4% strikeout rate in 29 2/3 innings for Colorado.
The 19-year-old Williams heads back to the team that picked him in the fourth round of the 2020 draft. He was traded to the Reds last November in the deal that also brought right-hander Jeff Hoffman to Cincinnati.
Williams has pitched for the low-A Daytona Tortugas this season, posting a 5.55 ERA. The 24-year-old Davis is 3-6 with a 3.60 ERA in 13 starts with the high-A Dayton Dragons.
► Rangers sign No. 2 overall pick Leiter with $7.9M bonus
Second overall pick Jack Leiter signed Wednesday with the Texas Rangers, getting a $7,922,000 signing bonus that is the largest for a drafted pitcher in 10 years.
The deal for the right-hander out of Vanderbilt, and the son of former big league lefty Al Leiter, was for just above the recommended $7,789,900 slot for the second player taken in baseball’s amateur draft on July 11.
That was the largest signing bonus for a pitcher since Gerrit Cole got $8 million after the Pittsburgh Pirates took him first overall in 2011. That was the last draft before Major League Baseball guidelines for signing bonuses of drafted players went into effect.
“Even before the selection was made, (the Rangers) made it clear to me and my family that this was kind of what they wanted to happen. And through the whole process, it just felt like I was the right fit for them. And it kind of felt the other way around, it felt like they were the right fit for me,” Leiter said. “It was kind of just a perfect match.”
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The 21-year-old Leiter, who will return to Vanderbilt to continue his education this fall while preparing there for his professional debut in the Rangers organization next year, was 11-4 with a 2.13 ERA while throwing 110 innings over 18 starts this season for the College World Series runner-up Commodores.
Rangers general manager Chris Young, the former big league pitcher who was a two-sport athlete at Princeton, said the team would devise a program with Vanderbilt trainers and staff for Leiter’s baseball work.
“We’ll work together to coordinate every aspect of it, with the idea being that in 2022 we’re ready to go,” Young said.
Young said it didn’t make sense for Leiter to pitch this summer or fall in the Rangers organization because of the workload he had during his college season.
► Brewers add All-Star 3B Escobar in trade with Diamondbacks
The Milwaukee Brewers acquired All-Star third baseman Eduardo Escobar from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday for two prospects.
The 32-year-old Escobar made his first All-Star game this season and is batting .246 with 22 homers. The switch-hitter should be a valuable and versatile piece for the first-place Brewers, who are trying to lock down the NL Central.
Milwaukee could use some extra pop in the lineup, especially in the coming weeks. Star outfielder Christian Yelich recently went on the COVID-19 injured list and is expected to miss at least another week.
Escobar said it was tough to leave Arizona, where he had career highs with 35 homers and 118 RBIs in 2019, but it was exciting to have an opportunity to be in the postseason hunt.
“I love this team. I have really good people here, really good friends,” Escobar said of the Diamondbacks. “But at the end of the day, it’s a new opportunity for me. I’m so happy that the organization in Milwaukee is giving me an opportunity to help this team win. You saw me every day here playing really hard. I’ll do the same thing over there.”
Escobar has played third, second and shortstop for the Diamondbacks this season and has played the outfield earlier in his career. He was one of the few bright spots for Arizona this season, which had MLB's worst record at 31-71 going into Wednesday.