Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo will not participate in the 2019 Home Run Derby next week, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Gallo missed more than three weeks in June due to a strained left oblique. Understandably, neither Gallo or the Rangers want to risk aggravating the oblique issue.
Gallo, 25, has been one of the game’s better power hitters this season, batting .286/.426/.683 with 20 home runs and 46 RBI in 238 plate appearances. He finished with 40 home runs in each of the last two seasons. Needless to say, Gallo is an obvious candidate for the Home Run Derby. One of these days we’ll see him in there.
There are six confirmed contestants for the Derby thus far: The Indians’ Carlos Santana, the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the Brewers’ Christian Yelich, the Mets’ Pete Alonso, the Pirates’ Josh Bell, and the Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. The other two contestants will be confirmed by 10 PM ET tomorrow.
The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal worth $64 million. The contract includes opt-outs after both 2020 and 2021, which is certainly good for Castellanos, allowing him to go back out on the market if he has a big year. Odd that the Reds would agree to that, but on an annual basis it’s kind of a bargain for them so you figure that has something to do with it.
With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.
Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.
Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.