Just as the Browns are flirting with the idea of signing diva wide receiver Dez Bryant, the Indians have reportedly contacted the Texas Rangers about professional strikeout machine Joey Gallo.
Cleveland to Texas: “Send us your tired, your poor, the wretched refuse of your sporting shore.”
On the surface, this seems like two bad ideas, but actually it’s only one.
Dez Bryant is a bad idea.
Even at a position that is infamous for its through-the-roof percentage of high-maintenance, self-absorbed,
it’s-all-about-me swollen egos, Dez Bryant stands out — for all the wrong reasons.
This is the type of player profile in which a team such as the Browns should have zero interest. The last thing needed by a franchise still crawling from the wreckage of 0-16 and 1-31, trying to rebuild a roster, change a culture and foster an atmosphere of accountability, is one of the noisiest, most selfish squeaky wheels in diva history.
That Bryant would even consider signing with the Browns seems odd, given that, well, they’re the Browns, and Bryant, as is true of all divas worth their tantrums, seeks the biggest stage possible. The Browns, however, are about as off Broadway as the NFL gets.
Besides, the Browns already have a Bryant knockoff at wide receiver — at least when he’s around — in Josh Gordon. Both are high-end ball catchers who must be wildly productive just for their teams to put up with all the auxiliary nonsense.
Maybe the Bryant flirtation is a not-so-veiled “are you in or not?” message/threat from the Browns to Gordon.
If it’s legit, and it happens, then what? What if Bryant signed with the Browns and then Gordon comes back? Which one is the alpha dog? With only one ball to go around, when would the pout-off start? How noisy would it get and how long before Jarvis Landry chimes in?
Would the Browns want to risk all that cymbal crashing rattling the nerves of a rookie quarterback, when Baker Mayfield takes over after the always-inevitable injury to the Browns starting quarterback?
Bottom line: Don’t do Dez.
Personally, I’d rather wallow in Gallo.
If it happens, this would be one of those clever little roster adjustments that has been an Indians front office specialty during the Terry Francona Era.
Granted, in many at-bats Gallo resembles a 6-foot-5 windmill, but the high strikeout total — yes, Mr. and Mrs. Corner of Carnegie and Ontario, we’re talking EPIC strikeout totals — are countered by light-tower power, plus some other hidden value.
Gallo’s 196 strikeouts last year are two more than Mike Napoli’s Indians franchise record, and 16 more than Jose Ramirez has in the last three years.
This year, Gallo’s 35.2 percent strikeout rate is the second highest in the majors, and his .190 batting average ranks 159th out of 160 qualifiers.
On the other hand, Gallo’s 25 home runs are more than all the Indians outfielders COMBINED. Indians outfielders have hit 23 homers, the second-lowest total in the American League, ahead of only Kansas City (18).
Did I mention Gallo is an outfielder?
Michael Brantley has hit 12 home runs. The Indians’ other seven outfielders have combined to hit 11.
Did I mention Gallo is a right fielder?
Gallo has hit 25 home runs and all the Indians right fielders combined have hit six. Repeat: six. Many of the Indians outfielders are now injured. Gallo isn’t.
Even with Brantley’s .302 average, 26 doubles and 12 homers, the Indians, as a group, have the worst outfield in the league offensively. Among teams the Indians might face in the postseason, Boston’s outfielders have hit 59 home runs, 30 by their right fielders. Yankees outfielders have hit 60 homers, 29 by their right fielders. Houston’s outfielders have hit 43 home runs, 19 by their right fielders.
Indians outfielders have hit 23 home runs, seven fewer than Jose Ramirez. Indians right fielders have hit six homers, one fewer than Kolten Wong.
The low batting average and high-strikeout totals aside, Gallo’s other peripherals are actually pretty good. His 13.5 percent walk rate is fifth best in the AL behind only Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Justin Smoak and Jose Ramirez.
Gallo’s .268 ISO (isolated power) is seventh in the AL. Ramirez is first and Francisco Lindor sixth.
Gallo’s 1.3 WAR (FanGraphs) is the same as Brantley’s. Gallo’s offensive WAR is 3.6, which is better than Edwin Encarnacion (3.1). Gallo’s -4.0 defensive WAR is similar to Yonder Alonso (4.5).
In this era dominated by strikeouts, walks and homers, Gallo excels in two of the three, and he’s under team control through 2022, which the Indians love.
With the exception of left field, the Indians’ outfield is a barren wasteland. According to the rest of this sentence, teams with an outfield that is a barren wasteland (BW) rarely play deep into October.
Joey Gallo is a good idea.