As the July 30, 4 p.m. Major League Baseball trade deadline neared, the Yankees were active buyers as they go all in to make the playoffs. The Yankees general manager, Brian Cashman, made several deals, but scored big in acquiring two left-handed batters to add to a right-handed heavy lineup. Cashman executed trades with the Texas Rangers for outfielder Joey Gallo and with the Chicago Cubs for first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
The Yankees didn’t give up any of their top prospects in the deals. Cashman was also able to negotiate the Rangers and Cubs paying the balance of the players’ 2021 salary. This keeps the Yankees under MLB’s luxury-tax threshold.
The 27-year-old Gallo, selected in the first round by the Rangers in 2012 MLB draft, made his professional debut in 2015. Now in his sixth season, Gallo, who has played first base, third base and the outfield, hit 41 homers in 2017 and 40 in 2018. When the Yankees hosted the Baltimore Orioles in the Bronx on Tuesday, the 2020 Gold Glove Award winner and two-time All-Star (2019, 2021) had 25 homers in 325 at-bats. The 56-49 Yankees were in third place in the American League East, seven games behind the division leading Tampa Bay Rays (64-43 as of Tuesday) and six games behind the second place Boston Red Sox (63-44).
Rizzo, who will turn 32 this Sunday, was a sixth round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2007. He became a top rated minor league player in Boston’s minor league system before being dealt to the San Diego Padres. He was traded to the Cubs in 2012, where he developed into an All-Star, making the NL team in 2014, 2015 and 2016. He was the Cubs’ starting first baseman on their 2016 World Series championship team.
“Do what you do, that’s all I’ve been saying to myself,” said Rizzo of the expectations of being a Yankee. He joined the Yankees last weekend swinging, clocking five hits, two home runs and four walks in their three-game road series versus the Miami Marlins.
“To make the moves we were able to make at the deadline, and improve our team the way that we did, we love our chances,’’ said Yankee veteran outfielder Brett Gardner after his team’s 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Sunday.
The Yankees will host the Seattle Mariners in a four-game series today through Sunday and then face the Kansas City Royals on the road Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.