Question: What do the Dodgers do when they don’t have the heart to drop Cody Bellinger from their 2022 playoff roster, but could experience the same effect by leaving trade deadline acquisition Joey Gallo out of the lineup mix?
Answer: Just carry both of them, and sort it all out later.
Though Gallo initially seemed reborn after coming over from the Yankees, he’s slowly slipped back into his old habits over the course of his two months with the Dodgers, parlaying excellent defense with the occasional home run, eschewing consistency along the way.
In 43 games as a Dodger, Gallo is now down to .167 with 7 homers and a below-average 86 OPS+, a step up from his 77 OPS+ in 82 games with the Yankees, but still several steps down from the All-Star level of play that Los Angeles’ braintrust was hoping to unlock.
Entering the postseason, Gallo is little more than a happier version of the same player he was in New York: someone who can flash the leather in the outfield, take his walks, and occasionally run into a homer, but without any degree of predictability for the latter benefit.
According to Dave Roberts, that power potential is enough to get Gallo onto the playoff roster, presumably edging out a younger talent like Miguel Vargas. Though nothing is set in stone, and Gallo’s role remains unclear, Roberts announced after Tuesday night’s game that the slugger would be moving forward with LA for the NLDS against either the Mets or Padres.
Joey Gallo makes 2022 Dodgers postseason roster
“Just have to figure out how to deploy him”? Yes, Dave, don’t we all.
Gallo picked up starts in both left and right three times in the season’s final four games, and socked a homer Tuesday night in the one game he didn’t start. Coinciding with Trayce Thompson’s recent re-ignition (7-for-his-last-19 with a pair of homers after a mid-year drought), it remains unclear exactly whose spot Gallo will capture when the lights are brightest.
That said, the Dodgers are most definitely giving him a chance.
Putting on our prediction hat, it seems like Gallo won’t start the postseason opener (after giving the team’s stars a few breathers down the stretch post-clinch), but will be the first man off the bench looking to run into one when the time comes.
Was that worth Clayton Beeter? October heroics will certainly determine Gallo’s value, above all else.