This Phillies-Yankees trade proposal is absurd

Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Could the Phillies trade Aaron Nola to the Yankees for Joey Gallo?

Buckle up, Phillies fans, because the offseason just went from zero to sixty with this outrageous trade proposal.

On Monday morning, suggested that the New York Yankees should send Joey Gallo to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Aaron Nola.

The reasoning behind said trade was that Gallo would “improve team defense and overall athleticism,” two areas in which the Phillies are coming up short.

Would Joey Gallo be a good fit for the Phillies?

Gallo is a Gold Glove finalist this year who can play multiple positions well; his defensive WAR ranked third in the AL in 2020. He’s spent significant time at each outfield spot and made 90+ appearances at both first and third base, which would benefit the Phillies, as an injured Rhys Hoskins and a struggling Alec Bohm hurt their chances in 2021.

However, like many Yankee batters – though he’s only been one since the trade deadline – Gallo hits a lot of homers and strikes out a lot. He led MLB batters with 213 strikeouts this year and was heavily criticized for his plate discipline, despite also leading the AL with a career-high 111 walks. He’s only had a 20+ double season once in his seven-year career, and only one season with 100+ hits.

If the Phillies’ offensive strategy is to simply out-homer the opposition, Gallo is a great fit. But in the real world, the Phillies need additions who can hit with runners in scoring position, and these are Gallo’s numbers:

Career RISP: .200/.360.445, .805 OPS, 29 HR, 172 RBI, 112 BB, 224 SO (402 games)
2021 RISP: .162/.361.405, .766 OPS, 9 HR, 38 RBI, 34 BB, 54 SO (103 games)

Gallo has also spent his entire career in the AL, so coming over to an NL team would be an adjustment. He’s hit .192/.332/.469 with a .800 OPS over 96 inter-league games, with 61 hits, including 14 doubles and 24 home runs, 57 RBI, and 126 strikeouts. And while his experience against the NL East teams who would be his rivals if this trade came to fruition is limited, the numbers aren’t good.

Should the Phillies trade Aaron Nola?

Nola, meanwhile, just had one of the worst seasons of his career. Over 32 starts, he posted a 4.63 ERA, the second-highest of his seven years in the big leagues. His hits and home run rates both increased, while his strikeout rate decreased.’s Joe Giglio argues that Nola would bring “stability, not upside” to the Yankees rotation. His reasoning? That Nola made 32 starts. Yet many of those starts were short, ineffective, and full of high run counts. It’s embarrassing that the once-formidable Yankees would even consider Nola stable after the season he just had.

Nola, an NL lifer to this point, has a 3.42 ERA over 23 inter-league starts. The sample sizes are small, but he has solid numbers against the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox; he has not pitched particularly well against the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.

While this trade would make sense in terms of Gallo being a viable replacement for McCutchen, whose outfield defense was indefensible this year, what the Phillies would be giving up doesn’t make sense for the Yankees, who are in the market for reliable pitching.

Furthermore, Yankees fans would hate Nola by the end of the regular season, as the starter struggles mightily in September. He has a career 4.60 ERA over 33 September/October regular-season games. In a Wild Card race like the one the Yankees just had against the Red Sox, Nola would hurt more than help.

Nola will be one of the Phillies’ biggest dilemmas this offseason. After a rough season, if they do make him available, they will have to market him based on the possibility of bounce-back. If they keep him, they risk his struggles continuing next year, lowering his trade value even more. The same could be said for Gallo.

Overall, the trade isn’t the worst idea in the world, but the benefits don’t seem to outweigh the risks enough to make it worthwhile.

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