Joey Gallo’s disastrous stretch creates Yankees dilemma

Joey Gallo was brought to The Bronx to give the Yankees a boost down the stretch.

Instead, he only created more questions about his future with the team.

Gallo is under contract for one more year, but his first two-plus months with the Yankees were largely underwhelming and not exactly what either side had in mind when he landed here in a trade from the Rangers at the deadline.

The left fielder, who is arbitration eligible after making $6.2 million this season, capped off a rough orientation to the Yankees with an 0-for-4 effort Tuesday night in a 6-2 loss to the Red Sox in the AL wild-card game at Fenway Park. It was a fitting end for Gallo, who hit .160 with 13 home runs, 37 walks, 88 strikeouts and a 93 OPS-plus (100 being league average) in 58 games with the Yankees during the regular season.

With Gallo one of the culprits of an underperforming offense that could undergo changes in the offseason, the Yankees will have to decide whether they believe he can settle in next year with a full season.

Joey Gallo
Robert Sabo

Over his final eight games of the regular season — a stretch in which the pressure was turned up with the Yankees needing to win as many games as possible to eke into the playoffs — Gallo recorded just two hits in 23 at-bats, plus two walks, no to mention two costly defensive gaffes. One hit was a perfect bunt single down the wide open third-base line against the Rays, who were playing a four-man outfield against him. The other was another infield single on a dribbler to the vacated left side, again taking advantage of the shift.

It is possible Gallo’s struggles might have also influenced third-base coach Phil Nevin’s decision to aggressively send Aaron Judge home on Giancarlo Stanton’s rocket single off the Green Monster in the sixth inning Tuesday. Had Nevin held Judge, the Yankees would have had runners on the corners with one out for Gallo, trailing 3-1. Instead, it turned into a runner on second with two outs, and Gallo quickly ended the inning with a weak pop-up behind third base.

Still, manager Aaron Boone said late Tuesday night he had no regrets over any of his lineup decisions, including Gallo batting cleanup. The Yankees intended for his lefty bat to provide much-needed balance to the lineup, but that became less effective when his bat failed to deliver more often than not.


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