The Nationals have finally addressed their need for a left-handed power threat and made their their largest dollar commitment to a player during this off-season. TalkNats first sourced a report in December after the Nick Senzel signing that their final position player acquisition would be a lefty power bat. The first three paragraphs of this article nailed it by mentioning Joey Gallo as the type of player general manager Mike Rizzo would target, and TalkNats sourced that Gallo was on the short-list back in December. Now per multiple reports, Gallo has been signed by the Washington Nationals contingent on a physical. The team will have to make a corresponding 40-man roster move once the Gallo signing becomes official.
Per reports, Gallo agreed to a one-year deal, per Andrew Golden of the Washington Post. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com says the the deal reportedly costs $5M with an added $1M in incentives. According to reports, Gallo can receive $200,000 for the following plate appearances: 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600.
Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo spoke earlier in the off-season about his desire to acquire more talent, and Gallo can play the outfield, corner infield, and DH. Of course Senzel is right-handed and also can play the outfield and third base.
“I think we’re going to be aggressive again this year looking for a bat that can play the corner infield — be it third base or first base or DH or left field — or a combination of all three of those.”— Rizzo said at the Winter Meetings in December
Gallo, 30, has slashed a career .197/.323/.466, playing for four teams in his career, including the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, and Minnesota Twins. The two-time All-Star debuted with the Rangers in 2015. Gallo was drafted in the 1st round (39th) out of the 2012 MLB Draft. He has recorded 3143 plate appearances in nine seasons, tallying 521 hits, 98 doubles, and 198 homers. The utility player has seen his production dip in recent seasons; his last all-star appearance was in 2021.
However, he’s still a solid addition to the Nationals. He won consecutive Gold Glove awards with the Rangers in 2020 and 2021 and can hit for power. Besides the COVID shortened season of 2020, Gallo has at least 19 home runs in every season he has played, his best coming in 2017, where he hit 40 homers. Last season, he played for the Minnesota Twins, totaling 21 home runs and 40 RBI while hitting .177 with a .741 OPS. The issue with Gallo is that K rate last year of 42.8% in his 332 plate appearances.
Gallo’s spot on the team will get defined by the team, and he could fill many roles from left field to the corner infield to DH. The only one set in the outfield so far is Lane Thomas in right field. With Gallo signing with the Nationals, they finally fill their need for a lefty-power bat. The Nationals had the second-lowest home run total in the majors last year (151) and had trouble getting extra-base hits.
Gallo joins RHP Dylan Floro, Senzel, and Nasim Nunez as the off-season additions to the MLB roster for the Nationals. Per TalkNats, the team’s payroll went up to nearly $111 million before bonus incentives and fringe benefits. That ranks 20th in MLB in total payroll.