Regrading the Texas Rangers – Joey Gallo trade from 2021

(Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images) /

On July 28 of last year, the Texas Rangers broke the hearts of many DFW fans when they traded their lone star player, Joey Gallo, to the New York Yankees. In a season which fans had very little to cheer for, things seemed to get demonstrably worse with the departure of the fan favorite.

Gallo was the last remaining homegrown prospect on the Rangers. The slugger was the only player with star power and frankly the only draw to the new ballpark. Without Gallo, the Texas Rangers were just a 100-loss team starting from scratch.

At the time, just about every outlet from North Texas to Coney Island agreed the Yankees had won the trade. Gallo was an All-Star, Gold Glover, and major fan draw. Gallo’s .223/.379/.490/.869 with 25 homeruns was irreplaceable. But with Team Gallo and the Texas Rangers worlds apart in negotiations, there was little choice.

Most said the Yankees won big at the time of the Joey Gallo trade, 10 months later it’s clear the Texas Rangers are the real winners.

To be fair, most national outlets liked the trade for both sides. The Yankees needed a left-handed bat and strong outfielder for their playoff run. They got that in spades with Gallo. They also received reliever Joely Rodriguez who was seen as an unrated and affordable arm. The Rangers got something for nothing since they were destined to lose Gallo anyway. It was a win-win just with NY on top.

Texas Rangers fans were actually the most critical of the return. The Rangers failed to get anyone in New York’s top-10 prospect list and not one projected to have half the star power of the slugger Gallo.

But as time went on and emotions began to cool, Rangers fans caught up with the national narrative that said Texas did OK in the deal. 10 months later and this looks far better than just OK…

Glenn Otto, the most MLB-ready of the prospects sent back to Texas, has performed as advertised. The right-handed starter has three strong pitches and projects as a long-term middle-of-the-rotation starter.

In seven starts this season he has a 4.33 ERA, 4.76 FIP, 1.358 WHIP, and a positive WAR. He’s been a regular contributor and important piece of the Rangers rebuild.

Ezequiel Duran (No. 5 prospect in Rangers system) was leading the minors in doubles as recently as last weekend. His .311 AVG, .932 OPS, 7 HR, and 30 RBI are nothing to scoff at and his ascension through the ranks all but assured.

Fellow infield prospect, Josh Smith, comes in as the Rangers 6th rated prospect. Recently called up, Smith is getting the opportunity to build on his strong month of May and try to establish his future on the Rangers. The extremely small sample size must be considered but it’s worth pointing out his 1.167 OPS is a pretty tasty start.

Meanwhile Trevor Hauver is showing he’s a natural hitter in search of a position. The success of the other three give the Texas Rangers patience in Hauver’s development and his impressive ceiling remains intact.

We could talk about the struggles of Joey Gallo in New York to hammer home the point, but that’s low hanging fruit, and as someone who still likes Gallo, it’s no fun. Just focusing on the Texas Rangers side of things I find it impossible not to re-grade this trade an A.

The trade I once hated, I now love. The Rangers weren’t going to come to an agreement with Gallo (thankfully, in retrospect) and traded him while he still had value.

One prospect hit would have been worth it, but to have all four still in the mix 10 months later, with two of them playing in Arlington and one on the cusp? That’s a big win for Texas.

Sports Dallas Fort-Worth
Sports Dallas Fort-Worth /

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light. Must Read. Rangers are laying the foundation

Texas Rangers regrade: A