The Rangers and the Yankees on Thursday made official the Joey Gallo-Joely Rodríguez deal. Here's who the Rangers getting back from the Yankees:
• Ezequiel Duran, 2B — 22 years old from the Dominican Republic, batting .290/.374/.533 with 15 home runs and 12 stolen bases at High-A. Fangraphs ranks him as Rangers' No. 3 prospect and No. 122 overall. ETA majors: 2023.
• Josh Smith, SS/2B — almost 24 years old, a second-round pick from LSU in 2019, batting .324/.445/.641 with nine homers and 17 stolen bases between Low- and High-A. Fangraphs ranks him as Rangers' No. 8 prospect. ETA majors: 2023.
• Trevor Hauver, IF/OF — 22 years old, a third-round pick in 2020 from Arizona State, batting .288/.445/.498 with nine homers at Low-A. Fangraphs ranks him as Rangers' No. 31 prospect. ETA majors: 2023.
• Glenn Otto, RP — 25 years old, a fifth-round pick in 2017 from Rice, posting a 3.33 ERA with 115 strikeouts, 17 walks and 60 hits allowed in 75 2/3 innings at Triple-A. Fangraphs ranks him as Rangers' No. 37 prospect. ETA majors: 2022.
Duran, Smith and Hauver are all reporting to High-A Hickory, with Otto reporting to Triple-A Round Rock, the Rangers said. Their placement will improve where the Rangers stand among farm-system rankings. In the preseason, MLB Pipeline pegged them at 21 of 30 MLB teams, and Baseball America ranked them 24th.
While talent evaluators see Duran and Smith as being the better prospects among the four, Rangers president Jon Daniels said in a video interview that he expects all three hitters to be "everyday bats in the big leagues," and that Otto will get a chance to join the big-league starting rotation this season. He compared the Gallo deal to when the Rangers were in the position the Yankees are now, trading Justin Smoak and other prospects for Cliff Lee 11 years ago.
None of the players the Rangers got this time are "throw-ins," Daniels said. "All four guys were key to it."
For anyone asking why the Rangers couldn't exchange someone as productive as Gallo for the Yankees' absolute top prospects — someone like prodigy Jasson Domínguez — deals like that are going to be rare anymore. It's not 1989. Sammy Sosa and Wilson Alvarez are not walking through the door for Harold Baines.
"The truly elite prospects in the game, they're hard to access," Daniels said.
But that doesn't mean the Rangers didn't add good players in this deal. On defense, Duran and Smith will be able to play in the middle of the diamond, Daniels said, with Smith sticking at short after answering questions about his ability there. Hauver doesn't have a set position on defense, but he does have an on-base percentage near .500.
"They all hit the ball hard and don't swing and miss a whole lot, which is a pretty good foundation to have for hitting," Daniels said.
Daniels cited Duran's ability on defense at second base, his high energy, his makeup and how much passion he plays with. His size and approach at the plate (24% K, 9% BB) bear similarities to Rougned Odor.
Smith (5-foot-10, 172 pounds) is "not huge in stature" but "hits the ball really hard" and "has loud tools," Daniels said.
Hauver has a "really advanced bat" with a good approach at the plate, Daniels said. They're not sure where his ultimate position will be.
Otto (6-foot-3, 240 pounds) has one of the best command-control combinations in the minor leagues, Daniels said, and has a good chance to start regularly. Otto was a reliever in college but Daniels sees him as a rotation piece. Curveball is his best pitch.
Per Fangraphs, the top Rangers prospects are 21-year-old right-hander Jack Leiter, the team's first-round pick this season who just signed a contract, and Josh Jung, a third baseman at Double-A. MLB.com lists catcher Sam Huff and right-hander Cole Winn in the top three. Put them together with the new addition and the farm system is going to look much better in future rankings.
Daniels confirmed that the Rangers being unable to reach an agreement with Gallo on a contract extension increased the impetus to make a deal now before his trade value plummeted. Gallo is under contract for 2022 before he enters free agency in '23. Daniels said it didn't make sense to keep Gallo around without extending his contract if the Rangers weren't going to be competitive with him on the roster.
Adding these prospects and not having large contracts on the books, Daniels said, brings the Rangers closer to being competitive.
"We have two real assets in terms of putting a championship club back," Daniels said. "Building an elite farm system, which we've made a lot of strides with, and are really proud of the group we have coming up. This trade addresses that. We also don't have much in the way of future financial obligations."
Being strong in those places would allow the Rangers to be buyers in free agency, or take on money in other ways, once they get clarity on how long another championship run will take.
"The losing on the field... that part of the rebuild is not fun," Daniels said. "Coming out the other side means having a lot of really good young players and having this financial wherewithal to make these decisions."