Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and Joey Gallo are apparently feuding
By Josh Hill
When the Minnesota Twins signed Joey Gallo back in December, the move sort of flew under the radar.
That was partially due to the timing of the deal, as it happened in the shadow of the Carlos Correa frees agency saga and occurred not long after the Twins had just been left at the altar. It was also overshadowed by a disasterously dissapointing stint with the New York Yankees in which Gallo flamed out and was scapegoated for failing to live up to the expectations for him.
While it’s always hilarious to see things go poorly for the Yankees, the move felt underwhelming given that missing on Correa meant the Twins were aimlessly taking a step back.
Anyone who doubted the deal is now eating their words, as Gallo has done nothing but hit dingers and develop into a fan favorite throughout Twins Territory during his short time with the team. A deal that raised some eyebrows at the time has turned into a Correa-like stint that Gallo is hoping to parlay into a bigger deal this upcoming winter.
For now, Gallo is one of the Twins best sluggers and is an important part of Rocco Baldelli’s lineup. It would be super awkward if the dump began to feud over his usage — which is apparently happening depending on who you listen to.
Are Rocco Baldelli and Joey Gallo feuding over the batting order?
There might be some truth to alleged tension in the Twins clubhouse, but what we appear to have is a classic case of internet telephone smudging a quote into something larger than it might be.
Here’s the deal: a publication called NJ.com — which is reputable — took quotes that Phil Miller from the Star Tribune got from Gallo and Baldelli that sound like the two disagree about how Gallo should be used in the batting order.
NJ.com took the quotes and presented them as Baldelli and Gallo feuding with one another. This is an East Coast publication that covers the Yankees closely, so you can see where there’s incentive to twist this into an anti-Gallo narrative.
Phil Miller from the Star Tribune captured a quote from Gallo earlier this week that seemed to indicate he’s not a fan of the decision have him hit leadoff.
“It’s not that I don’t want to,” Gallo said when talking about his new place in the order, "but I don't want to."
Baldelli didn’t help steer this away from ‘feud’ territory with his overly blunt response.
“He’ll be fine. His thoughts are always welcome, but right now, they’re not going to be taken into account,” Baldelli said.
That’s the money quote, but there was more context to what Baldelli said about Gallo.
"“He’s obviously got the strength and the power and he’s swinging the bat good right now. But he’ll also take some pitches and some walks. Sometimes just shaking the lineup up and seeing how some different skill sets kind of work together, is something we have to do. … If you like judging results by seeing a guy that’s hitting the ball real well and having great at-bats, he’s done a great job of it"
It’s easy to see the first two quotes and declare a feud, but there’s nuance in Baldelli’s reasoning. FOr his part, Gallo isn’t kicking and screaming about hitting leadoff rather he’s just stating it’s not his preference.
In Rocco’s defense, he has a job to do and right now part of that is putting Gallo in the best position to help a struggling offense. Gallo is slashing .286/.286/.857 hitting leadoff, which isn’t mind-blowing but the Twins offense is so stale that anything helps and hot hands are hard to find.
Disagreements happen all the time in clubhouses, and this seems to be more along the lines of that and less like an all-out feud. This isn’t the Bronx, but it appears the most interesting thing about the Yankees right now is what its former scapegoat is up to with his new team.