In search of power bats, the Cubs could take a flyer on Joey Gallo

San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers / Rob Leiter/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs remain deeply involved in the shortstop free agent market, but it remains to be seen to what lengths Jed Hoyer will go to land his top target. Carlos Correa seems like a perfect fit and Chicago remains the odds-on favorite to land the former AL Rookie of the Year, but it'll take the front office handing out that dreaded long-term pact and ownership breaking out the checkbook to get it done.

Cubs need to find a way to add power to the lineup this offseason

With or without that star shortstop addition, this Cubs team needs some more thump in the lineup in 2023. Patrick Wisdom led the club in home runs for the second straight year this season, as David Ross' club ranked ninth in the Senior Circuit in both slugging percentage and home runs. Given the need of outfield depth and an impact bat, it's worth thinking about a prove-it deal with someone like Joey Gallo, who's coming off a brutal 2022 season split between the Yankees and Dodgers.

Gallo, still only 29, slashed .160/.280/.357 in 126 games - a far cry from his .199/.325/.469 mark. The old school baseball fan in me wants to break things while screaming at the top of my lungs looking at that sub-.200 career batting average, but if you look back to 2021, you can see how the slugging outfielder could, at least in theory, be a potent offensive weapon for the Cubs.

He started that year with Texas, the organization that initially drafted him in the first round of the 2012 draft and was scorching hot, evidenced by his .869 OPS in 95 games, driven entirely by his ability to draw walks and hit the ball out of the ballpark. Following a trade to the Bronx, though, he never got his feet under him, drawing the ire of Yankees fans.

New York brought him back this year, but he continued to struggle. Without his signature power, his poor bat-to-ball skills became a glaring problem and New York cut ties with him at the deadline, trading him to the Dodgers. Things didn't really improve from there and now, Gallo is searching for home in free agency.

His Statcast page is the epitome of hot and cold. He ranks in the bottom 10 percent of the league in areas like xBA, strikeout rate and whiff rate, simultaneously checking in among the top 10 percent of qualified hitters in barrel percentage, hard hit rate and walk rate (as well as arm strength). This also makes his free agency case incredibly unique - he's got a high ceiling, sure, but a very, very low floor, as well.

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Gallo is certainly capable of adding some pop to this Cubs lineup, while adding a quality outfield defender to the mix (not to mention a prime candidate to cycle through DH reps). He shouldn't break the bank (made just over $10 million in 2022) - and if the front office isn't willing to swim in the deep end of the pool during free agency, a pivot to guys like this quickly becomes very feasible.