It’s time to play Trade, Stall, or Extend! Today’s subject player was a 2019 MLB All-Star. He’s led his team in slugging percentage three of the past four seasons, and he won his first Gold Glove a season ago. Let’s discuss the most talented player on the 2021 Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo.
Gallo is under team control through 2022, meaning he will become a free agent ahead of the 2023 campaign. If the Rangers want him on their roster at that point, they’ll either need to extend his contract ahead of time or re-sign him in free agency. The former option is far more favorable.
There is another option for Texas, however. Given their current position as a rebuilding ball club, it behooves them to explore Gallo’s trade value. He’s in the thick of his prime at 27 years old, a lockdown defender, and one of the top power hitters in the game.
Teams will line up for a slugging corner outfielder with a great glove. Interested parties would have to meet specific prospect-driven trade demands from the rebuilding Rangers, and the Rangers couldn’t have a shred of doubt that they’re making the right move in dealing with their star player.
They’re in a tough spot. Playing tug-of-war with the trade/extend dilemma, one might understand why Texas has stalled on a decision. Gallo’s poor 2020 offensive season further confuses the situation.
2021 Texas Rangers: The Best Course of Action With Gallo
The Rangers can procrastinate as much as they’d like, though an obvious choice will never present itself. If Gallo plays well, his trade value will rise, but so will his staying power. If he plays poorly, he’ll lose appeal on the trade market, prompting Texas to keep him. The worst possible outcome is the Rangers deal Gallo and receives an underwhelming return because his value was low.
The organization has more control over money than perceived outside value. In other words, it’s easier for the 2021 Texas Rangers to negotiate a contract with Gallo, who they drafted and guided to success than it is for them to negotiate trade terms with a random team.
Also, the Rangers know Gallo. They understand his character, his leadership, work ethic, preferences, ability, and routine. The information they would gather on new prospects pales in comparison to the information they already have on their everyday right fielder.
How many MLB teams have a player capable of hitting 50 home runs in a season? Two, maybe three?
Gallo’s power is rare. Before he did so in 2017-2018, the last Rangers player to post back-to-back 40-homer seasons was Alex Rodriguez in 2002-2003. At age 27, there’s plenty of belief that Gallo has several more monumental home run efforts in him. He proved capable of hitting for a decent average in 2019. Plus, his chase rates have decreased the last two seasons.
It’s not like the 2021 Texas Rangers would be signing Adam Dunn. Gallo is incredibly agile and athletic for his size. He has tremendous instincts in the outfield, and his arm strength is elite. During a terrible season at the plate – to his standards – Gallo was still a 1.4-WAR player. That says a lot about the type of talent he is.
The smart move would be for the Texas Rangers to sign Joey Gallo to a long-term contract.
No Reason to Further Delay a Contract Extension
When should Texas extend Gallo’s contract? As soon as possible. The longer they wait, the less Gallo will believe the Rangers want him around for when they turn the corner.
If Gallo were to sign an extension, he’d no longer feel the burden to play for pay. He wouldn’t be bothered by trade rumors or the uncertainty of free agency. All of that “extra” stuff would disappear.
What would persist is his status as the team’s top player. He’d solidify himself as the face of the franchise, continue to be the main attraction at Globe Life Field, and be front and center when the Rangers once again become contenders.
The front office can sit on its hands, hoping Gallo’s 2021 performance helps sway their timing and decision-making. Though, that approach could cost them considerably if the big lefty powers through his best season yet. Extend him now, and let him play freely for years to come.
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