Gleyber Torres cites Hicks, Severino to downplay Yankees extension uncertainty

Gleyber Torres is at Yankees 2024 spring training camp.

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Gleyber Torres has made it clear that staying with the Yankees long-term is a personal dream. He expresses a deep and heartfelt desire to remain a fixture in pinstripes. However, he also exhibits a mature understanding of the business nature of professional sports. The second baseman acknowledges that the organization’s decisions may not always coincide with individual player aspirations. This recognition keeps Gleyber Torres’ perspective level-headed, allowing him to appreciate his time with the Yankees while remaining prepared for any potential future directions.

“I feel at home right now. I know this organization from 2016. I feel good. I know everybody. As a player, you never want to leave from your house. Now I’m in a good spot. I know it’s a free-agent year, but I don’t think too much about that. Just play better and help my team. After the season, I hope to get a conversation with the team. If not, let’s see what happens in the future.”

Gleyber Torres expressed his desire to remain with the team during a discussion at his locker on Wednesday, stating that he feels at home and knows everyone within the organization. He emphasized his wish to continue being a Yankee for the long term, citing the strong sense of camaraderie and family among his teammates.

Gleyber Torres nonchalant over lack of Yankees extension

The upcoming season holds contract uncertainty for many key Yankees players, including Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo, and manager Aaron Boone. Gleyber Torres joins this group, entering free agency at the season’s end. While he expresses hope for an extension before hitting the open market, he acknowledges the team’s cautious approach.

General Manager Brian Cashman recently confirmed that contract talks with Gleyber Torres haven’t officially begun. While acknowledging Torres as the current second baseman “for this year,” he didn’t offer definitive statements about the player’s long-term future.

Despite the lack of concrete progress, Gleyber Torres maintains a desire for a long-term commitment from the Yankees. However, he seems prepared for various possibilities, demonstrating a balanced perspective on the business realities of professional sports.

Yankees star Gleyber Torres is at a training session in January 2024.
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Gleyber Torres remarked that he doesn’t hold General Manager Cashman or the organization accountable for the absence of extension talks. He rationalized that recent extensions, such as those for Luis Severino and Aaron Hicks, resulted in injuries and other complications, potentially influencing the cautious approach toward discussing his own extension.

Gleyber Torres’ upcoming contract situation draws comparisons to previous extensions the Yankees have made, like Luis Severino’s in 2019. Back then, Severino appeared a lock for a long-term deal, fresh off consecutive All-Star appearances and Cy Young consideration. His impressive stats (3.18 ERA, 1.092 WHIP) across 342 innings warranted a hefty $40 million, four-year contract with a fifth-year option.

This extension, reminiscent of Aaron Nola’s deal with the Phillies, reflected the Yankees’ belief in Severino’s long-term value. However, his career took an unforeseen turn. Plagued by Tommy John surgery and injuries, he only threw 108 innings from 2019-2022. His underwhelming 2023 season ultimately led to the Yankees declining his option and Severino signing a one-year, $13 million deal with the Mets – a stark contrast to the initial extension expectations.

Gleyber Torres reflected on Severino’s situation, noting that when he signed the extension, Severino was at the peak of his career. However, multiple injuries led to his departure from the team. He expressed that from a business standpoint, signing an extension only to suffer injuries is not favorable for anyone involved.

“When he signed the extension, he was in the prime of his career,” Gleyber Torres said of Severino. “But unfortunately, he got a couple of injuries and now he’s with another team. Unfortunately, as a business plan, it’s not (great) to get an extension and get injured, I don’t think it’s good for anybody.

“When you play for the Yankees, it’s special. It’s an honor to play with the pinstripes, and for sure I don’t think any player in the locker room wants to leave. It’s just like a special place here, and I [have known] everybody for a long time.

Gleyber Torres expressed his sense of belonging within the organization, emphasizing his familiarity dating back to 2016 and feeling comfortable with everyone. He conveyed contentment with his current situation, highlighting his reluctance to depart from familiar surroundings. Despite being aware of his impending free agency, Gleyber Torres stressed his focus on improving his performance and aiding the team. Torres also mentioned his hope for discussions with the team after the season, but acknowledged the uncertainty of the future.

Gleyber Torres New York Yankees
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A repeat of Aaron Judge situation

While Gleyber Torres likely seeks a similar long-term commitment, he understands the volatile nature of sports and the Yankees’ cautious approach. Unlike Severino’s consistent pre-extension performance, Torres’ own stats have fluctuated. This, coupled with the team’s philosophy and current financial climate, adds uncertainty to his contract negotiations.

Gleyber Torres finds himself in a contract situation comparable to his teammate Aaron Judge. While Judge secured a record-breaking nine-year, $360 million deal last year after testing free agency, Torres hasn’t entered official extension talks with the Yankees yet.

This disparity could be attributed to their respective career trajectories. Judge was already an established superstar at the time of his extension, boasting MVP awards and All-Star appearances. Gleyber Torres, while demonstrating talent and potential, hasn’t reached the same level of sustained excellence.

Some fans and analysts have speculated that a change of scenery might benefit Gleyber Torres, given occasional criticisms about his performance and defensive consistency in the Bronx. Trade rumors involving him have also surfaced, although he remains a valuable contributor in a relatively young lineup.

It’s important to note that Gleyber Torres hasn’t expressed a desire to leave the Yankees. He maintains a positive attitude and publicly stated his willingness to negotiate with the team. However, the differing situations of Judge and Torres highlight the complex factors involved in contract extensions, where both individual performance and market value play crucial roles.

Boone praises Gleyber Torres

Gleyber Torres hit his 14 multi-homer game on May 24, 2023, in Yankees vs. Orioles at Yankee Stadium.

Boone stated that Gleyber Torres is a crucial player for the team, emphasizing his significance in the lineup. Despite the focus on newcomers like Juan, Alex, and Trent, Boone believes Torres is often overlooked. He expressed excitement about Torres’s potential contribution, considering him a key player in the middle of the order, alongside the other mentioned players.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone highlighted Gleyber Torres’ offensive improvement in 2023, suggesting his performance may be underrated by traditional statistics. While his batting average (.273), on-base percentage (.347), and slugging percentage (.453) are solid, advanced metrics paint a more impressive picture.

Gleyber Torres’ 123 wRC+ indicates he created 23% more runs than the average hitter, placing him among the top six second basemen in MLB based on FanGraphs’ WAR (Wins Above Replacement). While his 3.2 fWAR falls short of his exceptional 2019 season (38 home runs), it’s worth noting the league-wide offensive surge during that era, potentially inflated by a livelier baseball.

However, Boone identified defense as an area needing improvement. Subjective observations and statistical analysis suggest a slight decline in Gleyber Torres’ defensive capabilities over recent seasons. Addressing this concern could significantly impact his future with the Yankees, especially considering the presence of Oswald Peraza, a rising prospect ready for the big leagues at second base.

The 27-year-old admitted that at times he considers the possibility that this might be his last year with the team due to uncertainty about the business plan for the following year. Gleyber Torres emphasized his focus on himself and his ability to improve his performance, acknowledging that this is something within his control.

Torres faces crucial year amid uncertain future

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Gleyber Torres’ future with the Yankees hinges heavily on his performance in the upcoming 2024 season. Projections suggest he might maintain or even improve on his 2023 offensive stats, potentially laying the groundwork for a lucrative contract extension. However, several factors complicate the situation.

Firstly, the Yankees face the monumental task of negotiating with Juan Soto, whose impending free agency could demand a record-breaking contract exceeding $500 million. This significant financial commitment might limit their spending power for other extensions, including Torres’.

On the other hand, Gleyber Torres has the advantage of playing in a relatively weak 2025 free-agent class for second basemen. Brandon Drury is currently the only other notable option without contractual obligations, making Torres a potentially attractive player on the open market.

Therefore, while a substantial multi-year deal remains within reach for Gleyber Torres, the Yankees may not necessarily be the ones offering it. He could command significant interest from other teams seeking his talent in a limited free-agent pool.

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