Nationals Sign 2-Time All-Star Free Agent Slugger

He’s a two-time All-Star, a two-time Gold Glover, and a two-time 40 home run hitter. And now veteran free agent slugger Joey Gallo is also a Washington National.

It’s a one-year, $5 million deal for Gallo, who has become known more for his swing-and-miss tendencies than his power. Gallo led the majors in Ks in 2021 with 213, while also leading the league in walks with 111. In fact, despite a career .197 batting average, Gallo has been able to maintain an OPS+ above average, at 109 due to his ability to get on base with walks. 

But it’s been an especially rough past couple of seasons for Gallo who managed only a .159 average in parts of two years with the New York Yankees and was pretty much booed out of town. He spent the 2023 season with the Minnesota Twins where he batted .177 and launched 21 long balls in just 111 games. But as usual, that came along with an alarming 142 strikeouts. His 42.8% strikeout rate was the highest single-season mark ever for a player with at least 300 plate appearances. 

A first-round pick by the Texas Rangers back in 2012, Gallo had back-to-back 40-HR seasons in the Lone Star State in 2017 and 2018 and was on pace for his third straight for the Rangers in 2019 with 22 dingers in just 70 games while batting a career-high .253 — more than enough to earn him a trip to the All-Star game. Unfortunately, his season was cut short after undergoing surgery in July on a broken hamate bone. He hasn’t hit above .200 ever since.

The 30-year-old will likely land a full-time spot in left field for Washington, as the team looks to continue its long and painful rebuild with several young players around him in the lineup.

Photo: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports