Yankees vets desperate to stay relevant amid team’s pivot to young talent

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The New York Yankees are showing readiness to drop seasoned players and induct more young talents from their farm. This has a domino effect on the team and the veterans have sprung into life with performances that have been eluding them so far. On Sunday, this was on full display at Comerica Park, where the Yankees veterans led the charge with big hits.

The Yankees are set for a busy offseason. From the manager to the newest rookies, everyone anticipates making organizational changes and possibly adding significant new players in an attempt to swiftly address what could be their first losing season since 1992. Although they have secured three consecutive wins, their record stands at 65-68 with 29 games remaining.

Yankees’ Torres finds his power back

Back in late July, during a period when the Yankees were still optimistic about igniting a successful playoff push, the Marlins initiated contact regarding Gleyber Torres. It came to light that they had a strong desire to acquire Torres to bolster their anticipated postseason campaign.

Over the past few seasons, there were instances where Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman explored the possibility of trading Torres. This was particularly noteworthy as Torres’ home run count declined over two seasons after hitting 37 in 2018. Additionally, his occasional lapses, both defensively at second base and on the bases, could lead to moments of frustration.

Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees

Throughout prior seasons, the Yankees managed to retain Torres due to Cashman’s consistent stance of placing a high value on the young player. Despite trade speculation, Torres, an All-Star in his initial two seasons, remained with the team. Cashman adhered to the same approach during the most recent trade deadline, upholding the high asking price for Torres.

At that point, the Yankees held no urgency to trade Torres, even though he’s earning $9.95 million this year and is anticipated to receive a substantial raise in 2024, his final year before becoming a free agent.

Presently, the Yankees find themselves out of contention with their season winding down. Amidst this, young talents like the Baby Bombers are emerging, offering a glimpse into the prospects of 2024. In recent times, outfielder Everson Pereira made his debut, and infielder Oswald Peraza was back for a substantial assessment. Looking ahead to September call-up day, top prospects outfielder Jasson Dominquez and catcher Austin Wells are slated to debut in Houston by Friday.

New York Yankees' youngsters Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza at Yankee Stadium
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Torres knows he has to fight to stay safe. He displayed a solid performance on Wednesday, going 2-for-4 with a double and another home run, marking his third in as many nights at Comerica Park this week. In the previous game, he hit his career’s longest home run, a 454-foot shot to lead off the game in a 4-2 victory, tallying five home runs in the last 10 games. His total of 23 home runs this year ranks second on the team. Notably, he excelled in August with a batting average of .340, raising his season average to .272, which leads the team despite their struggles in scoring runs.

Possibly, the Yankees’ offseason agenda might involve initiating discussions with Torres regarding a contract extension after seeing him perform.

The Yankees find themselves in need of boosting their offensive lineup rather than diminishing the reliability they possess. Notably, Torres’ defensive performance has shown improvement this year, marked by a series of remarkable plays, particularly in recent times.

Torres conveyed his aspiration to continue with the Yankees but acknowledged the uncertainty of the future. He emphasized his current focus on the present and his commitment to supporting younger teammates while remaining open to whatever unfolds in the coming times.

Only a few players have demonstrated the level of hitting proficiency exhibited by Gleyber Torres in the recent week, and Wednesday evening continued this trend for the Yankees’ second baseman. He launched his 23rd home run of the season and supplemented his performance with a double in the ninth inning, contributing to New York’s 6-2 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park.

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Torres strongly values the achievements of the team, but he’s also relishing his personal successes. These achievements have marked a transformative journey, beginning from a challenging period following the pandemic-disrupted season. This evolution has led him to his current status, where he’s boasting an impressive .340 batting average this month (35-for-103).

Torres noted that he perceives himself as having gained a degree of maturity this year. He acknowledged that the preceding year, 2021, posed challenges for him both in terms of his defensive and offensive performance. He mentioned that the previous year, 2022, served as a recovery period during which he reaffirmed his capability to perform at the level he achieved in his initial two seasons. According to Torres, last year marked a resurgence, and the current year serves as an opportunity for him to further demonstrate his ability to exhibit patience by drawing walks, minimizing strikeouts, and adhering to his strategic approach.

Torres has been instrumental in this achievement. Apart from initiating a crucial double play during the fourth inning, he also walked and contributed to scoring two runs. In the ongoing four-game series, Torres is demonstrating remarkable performance, boasting a .600 batting average (6-for-10), along with two doubles, three home runs, and four runs batted in.

Stanton, LeMahieu joins Yankees power surge

Following Torres’ fourth-inning opposite-field home run, Giancarlo Stanton promptly connected for his 20th homer, extending the Yankees’ advantage to 6-1. This occurrence marked the eighth instance this season when the Yankees managed consecutive home runs.

Detroit-born DJ LeMahieu also contributed a home run in the second inning, while newcomer Everson Pereira played a role in the victory by tallying two runs batted in.

“I think it is a matter of wearing the pitchers down,” Giancarlo Stanton told when asked about the sudden return to life. “We’ve had some high strikeout games, but if you see six or seven pitches, you are wearing him down for the next guy.”

The Yankees are at below .500 and heading to their worst record since 1996. However, their performance in the last three games has become admirable. Stanton and Torres blasted back-to-back homers making it third in the last four games. Though the Tigers are among the MLB’s weakest, it is a good sign for the Yankees. A competition between the youth and the veterans is surely going to benefit the Yankees.

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