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Yankees don’t have answers for Joey Gallo’s abyssal departure

DETROIT — Everyone can agree that Joey Gallo had a rocky start to his Yankees tenure.

Where opinions differ is what can be done to rectify the slugger’s struggles. So far, the Yankees have no answers.

While they pointed to Gallo’s forward metrics, the actual results have been so abysmal since the left fielder’s arrival from Texas last July that they’re impossible to ignore.

And as for the Yankees’ hope that Gallo would be more comfortable in the spotlight now that he’s had time to adjust, that hasn’t happened.

He entered Wednesday just 1 of 20 with two walks and 10 strikeouts in his previous seven games.

On the season, Gallo is 4-for-33 and is coming off a game against the Tigers on Tuesday in which he struck out in all four at-bats. He’s still looking for his first extra-base hit and only Kansas City’s Carlos Santana has a lower slugging percentage than Gallo’s .121.

Joey Gallo is just 4 for 33 to start the season.
Getty Images

A scout who saw it in Baltimore said it looked like the Striated Gallo went through a typical period of descent, but noted that these are often followed by a week or two of huge production.

“I haven’t seen one of him in a while,” the scout said.

The factors, according to the scout, are the fact that Gallo is likely pressing after another poor start with the Yankees, as well as an even more efficient shift that deprived him of hits with even greater frequency.

Moving aside, the lack of extra hits must be of particular concern for the Yankees and Gallo, who will be a free agent after this season.

His strikeout rate – always very high – is 38.5% this season, the worst of his career.

Yankees don’t have answers for Joey Gallo’s abyssal departure
Joey Gallo could press on after another bad start with the Yankees.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

And when it comes to advanced metrics, Gallo is swinging at more out-of-zone locations than he has since 2018, according to Statcast.

He’s also seeing fewer fastballs and more sliders and changes than ever before and his launch angle has dropped, which is one of the reasons his power numbers are down.

Under new batting coach Dillon Lawson, the Yankees are trying to be more aggressive at the plate rather than waiting for a perfect pitch to hit. This allowed Gallo to swing on more first pitches.

When the Yankees recalled Tim Locastro from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre over the weekend, some thought the fast outfielder might take some time away from Gallo, but Aaron Boone said that wasn’t the case.

Yankees don’t have answers for Joey Gallo’s abyssal departure
Joey Gallo swings on more pitches out of the strike zone.
robert sabo

The right-swinging Locastro hasn’t proven itself capable of hitting major league pitchers. He started Sunday in Baltimore against a southpaw, Bruce Zimmerman, with Gallo pinched later in the game.

But Gallo was in the lineup Tuesday in Detroit, when the Yankees faced fellow southpaw Tyler Alexander.

At this point, however, Gallo hasn’t shown the ability to produce against anyone.

In November, general manager Brian Cashman said Gallo “didn’t play as well as he was capable of playing” during his three-month stint in the Bronx after the trade.

He expressed optimism that greater familiarity with his surroundings and impending free agency would spur a rebound season and he was not considering moving Gallo.

“I don’t want to say there is a problem. I think you’re going to see a much better version of him, but that’s not saying much. He hit .190 with us,” Cashman said of Gallo, who hit just .160 in 58 games. “He struggled with his admission … and does. But he’s a threat every time at home plate and I’d bet we’ll see a much improved version of him next year for us. I feel very confident saying that because he is so talented.