Spring Training has begun, and so has every baseball fan’s predictions for the season.
On a team in the heart of Texas, the Rangers don’t get as much attention as some would like, but Gallo represents the one player the Rangers can make into the star of the lineup in 2020.
Joey Gallo has to be the most interesting player not named Corey Kluber, as Gallo punched 22 home runs in 2019 before eventually succumbing to a hamate bone injury in his wrist after playing just 70 games. He was on track hit 40 home runs and 91 RBI if he ended up playing the rest of the season at 130 total games, assuming he stayed healthy.
He missed 22 games with a left oblique strain in mid-June, then returned for 20 games before missing the rest of the season with the hamate injury in July. Despite his injury-riddled 2019, Gallo made the All-Star team, and if he had stayed healthy, he would have likely had his third straight season with at least 40 home runs in a season.
Health will be one of Gallo’s biggest concern in 2020, as he avoided arbitration with the Rangers before spring training started by signing a $4.4 million deal for the season.
Having Scott Boras as his agent, Gallo will want more than that on his upcoming contract, having proven to be a middle of the lineup power hitter along with being a solid outfielder for the Rangers.
Let’s call it the “Dak Prescott Effect,” meaning since Jerry Jones and the Cowboys decided to wait to try and pay Dak Prescott, the price has increased by about $4-6 million per year.
Now Jon Daniels is in the same situation. Do the Rangers give Gallo what he wants now so they avoid a price increase next offseason? Is he worth the money he’ll be asking for?
Since 2016, Gallo had played anywhere from third base to first base and eventually playing most of his time in the outfield, splitting time between left, center, and right field from 2018-2019. To try to find a true position for Gallo may seem tough, but between 2019, he virtually split time between LF and CF, playing 34 games in left field and 38 games in center, as he would rotate during games when needed. in 2018, Gallo spent 85 games in left field compared to just 15 in center and 16 in right field, really settling into the position.
The trick for general manager Jon Daniels now is how to approach contract negotiations with Joey Gallo and mega agent Scott Boras.
Let’s take a look at top paid outfielders for 2020, according to spotrac.com.
Mike Trout – $37.6 M
Yoenis Cespedes – $29.5 M
Bryce Harper – $27.5 M
Mookie Betts – $27 M
Jason Heyward – $23.5 M
Gallo clearly has an argument to push ahead into the top 5 paid outfielders in the MLB, as he has outplayed Jason Heyward since 2015. To put it into perspective, Gallo has 103 career home runs and 236 RBI in four seasons as a pro since 2015, while Heyward has 60 HR and 287 RBI in that same span. The difference between the two players is the game played, where Heyward played in 696 games while Gallo only has 416 under his belt.
Scott Boras is a smart man, as he has negotiated deals for the likes of Mike Trout (see above), Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado, and Bryce Harper, setting records in the process.
Needless to say, Boras knows what he’s doing, but is he willing to negotiate before the season kicks off?
Jon Daniels has to believe this would be the smartest route in order to get Gallo on a deal friendly to the Rangers, but in the end, Gallo will likely reach the $30 million mark, as Mike Trout is the clear top dog in the MLB outfield.
Boras will push for a long term deal, but only after the season because then it becomes a bidding war for Gallo’s talents. That’s when you’ll see teams willing to push past the $30 million line and overpay for a player of need.
With Gallo’s ceiling somewhat known, Jon Daniels needs to push for a contract sooner than later. The only way this will happen is if the team convinces Gallo and Boras to talk now.
With the mastermind of Scott Boras running the show, Daniels has his work cut out for him.
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