Former Phillies reliever heads to Yankees in blockbuster Gallo trade

Joely Rodriguez #63 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Joely Rodriguez #63 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Former Phillies reliever Joely Rodriguez is headed to the Yankees.

The hot stove was burning around Major League Baseball this week as Friday’s trade deadline came and went. Several trades, big and small, took place right down to the final minute on Friday, with a few last-minute bombs dropping after the fact. And while Philadelphia Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was working on his new team, one blockbuster swap made headlines on Wednesday that involved the team’s 2009 World Series rival.

The New York Yankees acquired outfield slugger Joey Gallo — as well as former Phillies reliever Joely Rodriguez — from the Texas Rangers in exchange for a handful of prospects. A two-time All-Star and 2020 Gold Glove Award recipient, Gallo leads MLB in walks and has slugged 25 home runs and 55 RBI so far this season.

Rodriguez joined the Phillies organization in December 2014, when then-general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. traded left-handed pitcher Antonio Bastardo to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Coincidentally, Dombrowski and the Phillies recently tried (and ultimately fell short) to acquire a left-hander from the Pirates, Tyler Anderson, but were outmatched by the Seattle Mariners late Tuesday night. Instead, they made a minor-league trade on Friday that brought Braeden Ogle to Philadelphia.

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A fellow southpaw, Rodriguez would go on to have a strong 2016 rookie season in red pinstripes, posting a 2.79 ERA with zero home runs allowed spanning 12 relief appearances and 9 2/3 innings.

The following season was a different story, however, as Rodriguez posted a 6.33 ERA, 1.926 WHIP ratio, and yielded four home runs and 15 walks — while striking out just 18 batters — across 26 relief appearances and 27 innings.

In June 2017, the Phillies dealt Rodriguez to the Rangers for a player to be named or cash considerations, and the Dominican Republic native had not pitched in the majors for another big-league team since.

His first season in a Rangers uniform (2020) mirrored his 2016 rookie campaign, posting a 2.13 ERA across a dozen appearances and 12 2/3 innings. This year, Rodriguez again has had a setback — recording a 5.93 ERA and 1.610 WHIP ratio across 31 appearances and 27 1/3 innings.

The Yankees will look to unlock and maintain Rodriguez’s success from the 2016 and 2020 seasons, while at the same time enjoy slotting in one of the game’s best sluggers into their lineup in Gallo.

Meanwhile, the Phillies made another deal with the Rangers on Friday, acquiring starter Kyle Gibson, closer Ian Kennedy, and pitching prospect Hans Crouse from Texas in exchange for former top pitching prospect Spencer Howard and prospects Kevin Gowdy and Josh Gessner.

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