Joey Gallo was “pretty defeated” after his time with the Yankees in 2021-2022, but that has since fueled his performance with the Twins — a place where the expectations aren’t as sky high.
Gallo was expected to be a star among the loaded roster in the Bronx when he came over in a trade with the Rangers, but he certainly didn’t turn into one in the pressurized environment, hitting .160 in 188 at-bats in 2021 and .159 in 233 at-bats in 2022.
“Not just mentally — I was pretty defeated — but also, just, my swing was at a point where I just felt like it was tough to fix and it needed an overhaul,” Gallo told TwinCities.com. “You needed that three, four months to kind of revamp everything and kind of forget about the season and kind of move on.”
Gallo now knows where his role lies in Minnesota. He has hit three home runs in his last five games and leads the team in homers with 10 and in OPS with .900.
“Frankly, one of the best things about this year is last year, because the expectation level was not what it was when he went to New York,” his agent, Scott Boras, told the website. “From a mental standpoint, it’s kind of back to normal, where Joey is playing in an environment where, yeah, we know he has power, (but) what’s his expectation? His expectation is to be a part of this team, not be some brand superstar of the team.”
The two-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner landed in New York from the Rangers at the trade deadline in 2021. The Yankees shipped him off to the Dodgers a year later, with the fan base letting him know he was a disappointment daily.
In Los Angeles, Gallo’s bat wasn’t any better, hitting .162 for 117 at-bats.
“You never want to see a guy go through a year like that, but we’re really lucky he went through a year like that because that’s the only way we were going to get this player,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Hopefully, we can keep him going and keep him playing real well, because he’s been awesome for us.”
The outfielder has recently made the switch to first base and batting leadoff for the Twins, which he resisted, but has since been productive in the spot.
A reporter recently suggested Gallo is doing well as the leadoff hitter and he begged, “Oh, boy, don’t tell Rocco that, please. Tell him I’m terrible leading off. I don’t want to keep doing it.”
But Gallo has not budged from the spot.
“The thoughts are always welcome, but right now at this moment, they’re not going to be taken into account,” Baldelli said. “He’s handled it very well. He’s taken some great swings. And I’ll probably talk about it as little as possible.”
Gallo is on a one-year, $11 million contract with the Twins.
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