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Yankees agree to deal for Rangers slugger Joey Gallo

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The New York Yankees have acquired All-Star slugger Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers. The team announced the deal Thursday.

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The Athletic's Levi Weaver first reported the agreement Wednesday night. The deal also sends reliever Joely Rodríguez and cash to New York.

Gallo represents a big swing from the Yankees, who have uncharacteristically struggled on offense in 2021. As of Wednesday afternoon, they were languishing 8.5 games out of first in the AL East and three games back of the second wild-card spot in the AL.

The hulking 27-year-old outfielder is also left-handed, and will immediately become the biggest threat from that side of the plate in what has been an overwhelmingly right-handed batting order. Like new teammates Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, Gallo obliterates the ball when he hits it, sporting one of the game's highest average exit velocities. He could especially benefit, though, on weaker fly balls that he pulls toward Yankee Stadium's short right field porch.

Gallo was not a surefire trade candidate. He remains under team control through the 2022 season, and was the Rangers' best and most recognizable player … by a mile.

Speaking of miles, that is about how far Gallo can hit the ball. In the only two years where Gallo has logged a full slate of at-bats, he has hit 40 homers, and he’s on pace to make it 3-for-3 in 2021.

He’s also a tremendous athlete, adding value on defense in the outfield corners even with his 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame. After a rough go in the shortened 2020 season, he has picked back with serious plate discipline gains he made in 2019 and currently leads qualified hitters in walk rate. Gallo's .379 on-base percentage so far this season is a career best.

The Rangers will receive a prospect haul in return. ESPN's Jeff Passan reports the package includes RHP Glenn Otto, 2B Ezequiel Duran, SS Josh Smith and 2B/OF Trevor Hauver.

The San Diego Padres were also rumored to be in pursuit of Gallo's services.

The Yankees' blockbuster move comes on the heels of the Oakland A's acquiring outfielder Starling Marte earlier on Wednesday. The A's currently hold the second AL wild card.

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 27: Joey Gallo #13 of the Texas Rangers hits a three-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning at Globe Life Field on July 27, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 27: Joey Gallo #13 of the Texas Rangers hits a three-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning at Globe Life Field on July 27, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Did Yankees odds just improve?

Struggling to find any consistent groove, the Yankees' chances have been fading. They are now +1400 long shots to win the AL pennant at BetMGM. That, unsurprisingly, tracks with their long AL East odds — now +1100 at BetMGM, far behind the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.

Even Gallo — one of the best players who will change teams at the deadline — likely can't do enough to help them overtake both rivals in the AL East, but the wild-card race is decidedly more winnable. Owing to a strong roster decimated by injury and underperformance, FanGraphs still gives them a 40.9% chance at making the playoffs, the best mark of any AL team not currently holding a spot.

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