Exploring the Yankees’ readiness for trading Gleyber Torres

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Sara Molnick
Wednesday July 12, 2023

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NEW YORK — During the previous summer, the Yankees came close to swapping Gleyber Torres for Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez, but the trade fell through prior to the deadline. Considering the events of the past year, it raises the question of whether they will entertain the idea of making a similar move involving Gleyber Torres before this season’s deadline.

In his sixth season wearing pinstripes, Gleyber Torres has experienced a tumultuous journey. While displaying moments of excellence as one of the Yankees’ top hitters, his consistent mistakes and blunders, both defensively and on the base paths, have dominated the narrative of his first-half performance.

Gleyber Torres presents an intriguing situation as he exhibits deficiencies in his defense and tends to be overly aggressive on the basepaths. However, his offensive abilities are above average, with the potential to reach an elite level. During the early stages of their careers, Gleyber Torres showed promising signs that he could surpass Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers, who made his debut around the same time.

Should a team take a gamble on Gleyber Torres’s high potential, the Yankees could potentially acquire a valuable big leaguer or a player with significant upside in return.

The failed trade attempt involving Gleyber Torres and Pablo Lopez is no secret, indicating that the Yankees were open to parting ways with him under the right circumstances. If an enticing opportunity presents itself, general manager Brian Cashman would be willing to explore trading Gleyber Torres.

Gleyber Torres remains error-prone, unreliable

A prime example occurred in Sunday’s defeat against the Cubs, a game the Yankees had a strong chance of winning. Gleyber Torres mishandled a routine double play ball in the seventh inning, marking the beginning of the Chicago comeback, which resulted in them scoring six unanswered runs.

Post-game, Gleyber Torres took full responsibility for the critical error, acknowledging that he felt rushed due to the speedy presence of Cubs infielder Christopher Morel. Even the most skilled defenders occasionally make mistakes that directly impact game outcomes. However, the concerning aspect lies in the immediate reaction of expecting such errors from Gleyber Torres, highlighting the Yankees’ significant problem. Gleyber Torres has proven to be unreliable, particularly in crucial moments, amplifying the team’s concerns. He leads the MLB in second base errors with seven mistakes.

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Yankees skipper Aaron Boone consistently stood by his second baseman, defending Gleyber Torres as he often does. Boone argued that Gleyber Torres has not made an excessive number of errors this season, emphasizing his ability to make remarkable plays at the position on a regular basis.

While the latter statement holds some truth, as Gleyber Torres can occasionally display impressive defensive skills at second base with his nonchalant and off-balance throws, the first part of Boone’s assertion is factually incorrect.

This season, Gleyber Torres leads the league in errors committed by a second baseman, with a total of nine. This figure surpasses his error count from the entire previous season by two, marking a regression in his defensive performance. This decline comes after what was considered Gleyber Torres’ strongest defensive campaign, according to advanced metrics.

When discussing errors, it’s important to consider their significance. However, since we’re on the topic, it’s worth noting that Gleyber Torres has recorded the fifth-highest number of errors (38) among second basemen in MLB since his rookie season in 2018. It’s worth contemplating where he would rank on that list if he hadn’t played over 250 games at shortstop during that period. Unfortunately, that experiment proved to be even more disastrous.

Inconsistency of Torres

Gleyber Torres’ struggles extend beyond his defense. In 2023, he has been doubled off the bases multiple times due to poor reads and questionable decisions. While some of his aggressive plays have worked out, such as scoring from first on a single up the middle against the Orioles a week ago, they have involved considerable risks.

If Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins had thrown the ball into the infield with more urgency during that particular play, Gleyber Torres would have been out at home by a significant margin. Since he had his back turned while running toward the third, it’s evident that he wasn’t aware of what was happening behind him. Whether his actions were driven by instinct, as Boone described it, or if he simply got lucky, remains a subject of debate.

Gleyber Torres’ performance this season has yielded a batting average of .251 and an OPS of .739. While he has shown glimpses of excellence, hitting .300 with runners in scoring position, hitting 13 home runs, and recording a career-low strikeout rate, he hasn’t maintained the same level of play that he showcased during his rookie and sophomore years.

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Gleyber Torres trade potential

So, is there a possibility of another team trading for Gleyber Torres? It’s not out of the question, but certain conditions would need to align.

One important factor to consider is that Gleyber Torres will become a free agent after the next season. Currently earning just under $10 million, any trade rumors surrounding him would be subject to financial constraints. This would also apply to the following year, as he is expected to receive a raise in his final season of arbitration.

A team in need of a second baseman with offensive potential might be interested in pursuing Gleyber Torres before the upcoming trade deadline. However, they would have to overlook his other shortcomings and focus on his batting abilities. Teams like the Blue Jays, Brewers, Mariners, and Mets, who are in the playoff race despite struggling at second base, could consider trading a pitcher to bolster the position.

Meanwhile, it would not be logical for a team looking to sell at this year’s trade deadline to demand Gleyber Torres in exchange for one of their top pitchers. As a 26-year-old player with only one year of team control remaining, he does not fit the profile of a player that a rebuilding team would typically seek.

Having Gleyber Torres on the roster is not necessarily a negative for the Yankees. He is highly regarded within the clubhouse, and he has a strong following among the team’s fan base. Additionally, he has been one of the team’s most productive offensive contributors this season. However, this is more indicative of the overall state of the Yankees’ offense, which ultimately led to the firing of Dillon Lawson on Sunday.

One notable drawback of moving forward with Gleyber Torres, while also having Josh Donaldson and DJ LeMahieu in the lineup, is that it creates a roadblock for Oswald Peraza, who has been performing exceptionally well with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team in Triple-A. Peraza has shown great potential and deserves an opportunity with the major league club. However, if Torres continues to play second base and Anthony Volpe takes the starting role at shortstop, there will be no room for Peraza to make his mark.

To expand on that point, the future outlook for Gleyber Torres on the team becomes even more uncertain with the emergence of prospects like Volpe and Peraza. Considering the presence of these younger, more affordable, and controllable assets in the middle infield positions, it raises the question of whether the Yankees would want to invest in extending Gleyber Torres’s contract. Unless there are plans to shift someone to third base, it becomes increasingly challenging to justify keeping Gleyber Torres when there are promising talents waiting in the wings.

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Consequently, the Yankees are facing a time constraint to determine whether they should take a more proactive approach in exploring trade options for Gleyber Torres in order to maximize any potential value before his tenure in the Bronx nears its conclusion.

Despite being in the hunt for a Wild Card spot, the New York Yankees are open to the possibility of trading some of their established players if the right opportunity presents itself. Their current position as potential buyers does not exclude the possibility of making strategic moves to strengthen their roster.

As the playoff race intensifies with a larger number of teams involved, it’s possible that contenders will explore trades with each other to address their specific needs. Should the Yankees decide to engage in such trade discussions, second baseman Gleyber Torres could emerge as an appealing candidate given his impending free agency after the 2024 season.

According to Max Goodman of NJ.com, there is a possibility that teams in need of a second baseman with offensive potential, such as the Blue Jays, Brewers, Mariners, and Mets, might consider targeting Gleyber Torres before the upcoming trade deadline. While these teams have struggled to find production at second base, they would have to weigh the trade-off of Gleyber Torres’ shortcomings and decide whether they are willing to trade a pitcher in order to bolster the position.

However, given the scarcity of offense for the Yankees, it may not be the wisest decision to trade a player like Gleyber Torres, who has contributed with a 105 OPS+ this season.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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