ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Well before the Yankees' deal for Joey Gallo became official – an eventuality that occurred late Thursday morning – the news of it electrified the Yankees’ clubhouse.
"Excited to join forces with him," Jameson Taillon said. "He brings a lot to the table. We were talking about it last night on the bus back to the hotel. I mean [he’s a] good defender, good speed, obviously a lot of power. He's got some experience, he adds a lefthanded bat. He checks a lot of boxes for us."
Taillon will start Friday night in Miami against the Marlins to kick offthat three-game series and Gallo, who is slashing .223/.379/.490 with 25 homers, 55 RBIs and an MLB-leading 74 walks, may well be in the lineup.
"It's hard to argue that we're not a lot better team adding Joey Gallo," manager Aaron Boone said.
The Yankees agreed to acquire the 27-year-old Gallo, along with lefty Joely Rodriguez, from the Rangers Wednesday night in exchange for four minor leaguers – righthander Glenn Otto and infielders Ezequiel Duran, Trevor Hauver and Josh Smith.
Boone praised the 29-year-old Rodriguez, who has a 5.93 ERA in 31 appearances this season – "a guy that’s been really good at getting lefties out" – but Gallo, obviously, is the centerpiece of the deal.
In addition to, as Taillon mentioned, the Yankees adding a much-needed lefty bat, Gallo, a former Gold Glove winner, improves the club defensively, also much-needed.
Gallo has played a lot of rightfield in his career but, with that position occupied by Aaron Judge, he’ll likely see most of his time in left and, perhaps, even some time in center. Gallo, known as a tremendous athlete, has also played third and first.
With the Yankees playing three games in a National League park and, hence, no DH, Boone said the club could send out at some point there an outfield of Judge, Gallo and Giancarlo Stanton. Still, when it comes to the latter playing the field, it’s been talked about since spring training and hasn’t yet occurred, so don’t bet the house on it.
Sevy inching closer
Luis Severino was supposed to start a rehab assignment Friday but, because of weather concerns, threw a three-inning simulated game at Tropicana Field instead. Severino, watched by Boone, pitching coach Matt Blake and hitting coach Marcus Thames, among others, faced Rob Brantly, Luke Voit and Estevan Florial. Other than a clean single by Voit in the first inning Severino looked sharp and is expected to begin a rehab assignment next week. Indications are the righty, with no further setbacks, could be a rotation option within the next couple of weeks.