Texas Rangers: Will Joey Gallo be a Ranger again?

When the Texas Rangers traded away their best homegrown player of the era this summer, fans were universally disappointed. Whether they felt it was the smart move, a bad move, a loser’s move, or whatever, it was generally met with some feeling of sadness in north Texas.

Joey Gallo wasn’t just the power hitting elite fielding All-Star most of the nation thought him to be, but he was also the fun-loving, kind natured, fan favorite Rangers fans knew him to be. Gallo was the face of the franchise and a symbol of the next era.

When he was traded to the Yankees, it wasn’t just the loss of another beloved player, but it was a sign this Texas Rangers franchise was admitting defeat in their never-ending rebuild.

There’s a decent chance Joey Gallo returns to the Texas Rangers in 2023

Trading players at the deadline is nothing new for the Texas Rangers. Fans have grown accustomed to the annual process: Texas signs a retread on a team friendly deal, nurtures him back to relevance, and flips him for prospects. It’s the primary reason Texas has gone from one of the worst farm systems in MLB to one of the better ones in recent years.

But Gallo was different.

The same thing that led to his contract impasse with the Rangers could very well led to the same impasse with his current organization.

He wasn’t someone else’s guy. He was our guy. Gallo was streaky and extremely hard to evaluate and appraise – hence the contract stalemate and subsequent trade. But he was star power and a key part of the Texas Rangers clubhouse. So the idea of him somehow coming back to the Texas Rangers is fun one to entertain.

Joey Gallo recently spoke of his love for the Rangers and the emotions felt when he left the only franchise he’d known. It was raw and heartfelt, further illustrating the rare bond between homegrown player and professional franchise.

But the same thing that led to his contract impasse with the Rangers could very well led to the same impasse with his current organization. Since joining the New York Yankees, Gallo has a slash line of .169/.316./456.  His hot mid-summer streak subsided and he’s back to his feast-or-famine ways.

The Yankees, never short on free agent options, could find themselves in the same situation as the Rangers. They may not know how to appraise a unique player like Gallo and just opt out entirely.

The compensation sent to the Rangers this summer wasn’t the King’s Ransom many expected Gallo to get, but rather a fairly modest collection of upper-middle tier prospects. Since NY didn’t break the bank in the trade, they’d be less likely to fall victim to the fallacy of sunk costs (letting past investment dictate future decisions).

Why would 2023 be different for Joey Gallo and the Texas Rangers?

The question at hand is if the two sides couldn’t agree this summer, what makes us think 2023 will be any different?

With the entire league competing for his services in free agency, maybe it wouldn’t, but Gallo parted the Rangers on good terms. Both sides seemingly love and respect one another. Gallo has been to the other side, and he’s seen their grass. Maybe that grass isn’t greener and he misses the comfort of north Texas. New York media can be exhausting, after all. Perhaps Gallo reprioritizes things.

Best yet, we get to assess more data to build a better evaluation. When the Rangers traded Gallo they thought he might be on the cusp of a breakout. If that breakout doesn’t come to fruition (the only scenario New York lets him leave in 2023), chances are the 29-year-old Joey has officially plateaued as a pro, making his value much clearer.

This is all 100 percent speculation but there is a realistic pathway for Joey Gallo to return to the Texas Rangers and it may come at a lower cost than once imagined.

Don’t give up on Joey Gallo quite yet, Texas Rangers fans.