6:30PM: In a follow-up piece, Grant speaks to Boras, who disputes the story that they made a counterproposal north of $300MM. “I asked where they saw Joey sat in relation to Elvis [Andrus] and Anthony Rendon,” Boras is quoted as saying. “There was never a counter-offer or demand made. There was only a question asked.”
3:01PM: The Rangers made a late effort to lock up Joey Gallo, engaging the outfielder in extension talks prior to the trade deadline that ultimately proved fruitless, and Gallo was sent to the Yankees as part of a six-player swap. It doesn’t seem like the two sides even came particularly close on a new contract, as Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News reports that “a chasm” existed between the Rangers and Gallo’s camp.
Grant reports that the Rangers offered Gallo a five-year, $84MM extension that could have become worth more than $100MM if Gallo hit various incentive clauses and escalators within the deal. Gallo has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining, so this proposed extension would have covered the 2022 season and then four free agent years, keeping Gallo in the fold through his age-32 season.
The asking price from Gallo and agent Scott Boras was, as expected, considerably higher — something north of $300MM. That figure would surely have been spread over a much longer contract (Grant noted the Mookie Betts and Bryce Harper deals as possible comps) than five years, and deferred money or opt-out clauses could well have been part of the deal if negotiations had gotten even somewhat serious. Aiming high with an initial offer is standard negotiating practice, and it could be that Boras was floating a purposely huge number on the slim chance that Texas was desperate enough to keep Gallo that they would accept.
Then again, given how Boras often sets a high bar for his clients, this could be an insight into how Boras will market Gallo for free agent suitors during the 2022-23 offseason (or maybe in extension talks with New York, though the Yankees generally don’t pursue extensions). Boras will undoubtedly highlight Gallo’s huge power, quality baserunning, and excellent defense at any of the three outfield positions. Gallo won a Gold Glove as the Rangers’ regular right fielder in 2020, though his ability to more than hold his own in center field makes him particularly valuable. Teams probably aren’t likely to be keen on a decade-long commitment for a player who will be 29 in the first year of such a deal, but some sort of guaranteed nine-figure deal looks like a very safe bet.
Boras might have an easier time making his case next winter rather than now, assuming Gallo blasts several dozen homers into Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right field over his remaining tenure in the Bronx. At the moment, a $300MM deal is hugely optimistic for a player who played only 70 games during an injury-shortened 2019 season, and Gallo didn’t even provide league-average offense in 2020 as he struggled to adjust to Globe Life Field (among the many other difficulties of the pandemic-influenced season).
“Does that make him more Mookie Betts or Nick Castellanos?” Grant rhetorically asks of Gallo, referencing the four-year, $64MM free agent pact that Castellanos (another Boras client) signed with the Reds in January 2020. Castellanos signed his deal entering his age-28 season, the same position Gallo is in now, and the two have comparable slash lines through the same points in their careers though Castellanos had almost two extra seasons’ worth of games played under his belt. As the Rangers’ offer seemed to reflect, Gallo’s much superior defense would merit him a bump over a Castellanos-esque deal, yet the argument can certainly be made for a much bigger bump than only $800K in guaranteed average annual value.