All-Star slugger Joey Gallo is headed to the Bronx to give the New York Yankees some much-needed punch from the left side.
The Yankees have reached a deal to get 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 move had not yet been announced and was subject to approval of medical records of the players involved.
Gallo, 27, should provide a powerful boost for the heavily right-handed Yankees. 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. The 6-foot-5 slugger has also 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 the rebuilding Rangers, who 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 team 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, and later 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.
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, Gallo 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, giving him a career-high nine this season.
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. Their last winning season was 2016, when they won the AL West before getting swept by Toronto in a best-of-five Division Series.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports