Yankees: Ronald Torreyes deserved better than this
On Saturday the Yankees decided to demote top utility man Ronald Torreyes as the corresponding move for the returning Greg Bird. It was a very difficult decision and one that caught many by surprise.
First, let me say that whoever the Yankees sent down the move was going to be scrutinized by fans and media no matter what. Whether it was slugging first basemen Tyler Austin or effective long reliever A.J. Cole a move had to be made and someone who was undeserving of a demotion would have to go.
However, I never thought that player would be Torreyes. The Yankees super utility man has been an unsung hero for this team dating all the way back to his debut with the team at the beginning of the 2016 season. He’s been one of the best utility men in baseball when you consider his ability to hit for a high average and play really good defense all over the infield.
Last year Toe was one of the regular season MVP’s for the Yanks after he filled in for Didi at shortstop and Starlin Castro at second base for extended periods of time while playing at a very high level. He hit .292 with 36 RBI in only 315 at-bats.
This year it’s been more of the same for Toe after he was sent down on Saturday despite batting .339 so far this season. With runners in scoring position, he’s been even better hitting .409. As usual, he could be out of the lineup for up to a week and yet when his number was called upon it always seemed like he would pick up big hits and play terrific defense to help the team win.
The Yankees are obviously stacked with talent from top to bottom so losing Torreyes to AAA probably won’t really hurt their record. After all his role was that of a bench player who played one to two times a week on a team full of All-Stars that’s currently 32-16. However, Toe is also one of the most beloved players amongst his teammates so sending him down could have a negative effect on the clubhouse chemistry.
The news has already hit his teammates hard according to Lindsay Adler of The Athletic:
Was the wrong man sent down?
Personally, I think if the Yanks are content on carrying 13 pitchers for the foreseeable future than the move to make was sending Tyler Austin back to Scranton. Like Torreyes, he has options remaining and he plays the same position as the returning Bird. Torreyes is also a much more versatile player than Bird and isn’t limited to only playing first base. The same can be said for the veteran Neil Walker who was splitting first base duties with Austin in Bird’s absence.
When addressing the media on Saturday Brian Cashman said part of their reasoning for the move was that they thought they could find Austin more playing time than Torreyes. Since walker can also play first, second and third and Gleyber Torres could shift over to shortstop if Didi Gregorius ever missed time. That would leave limited at-bats for Torreyes on the 25-man roster. They also probably want to showcase Austin more at the big league level so he can be a potential trade piece down the road to clear up the current logjam on the roster.
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Still, I don’t agree with the move because Torreyes has shown he doesn’t need to play every day in order to be effective. The Yankees say Austin will still get at-bats even with Bird back, but with Walker also still on the roster, he will need at-bats as well.
Somebody is going to be spending a lot more time on the bench and you don’t know how effective they can be when they are in the lineup after a long layoff. With Toe, you don’t have to worry about that.
Usually, problems like this end up working themselves out, but with this Yankees roster, we don’t know when or if Torreyes will be back. We’ve already seen something similar happen with Brandon Drury who is also still stuck at Scranton despite being healthy. It’s nice to have a Triple-A club filled with big league caliber players but eventually, something has to be done about it.
You would think a trade will have to be made at some point and when the Yankees look to acquire a starting pitcher some of the aforementioned players will be involved in talks. I just hope Torreyes isn’t involved in any deal and that he’ll be back in the big leagues very soon.
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He is such a unique player and although he might not have the upside of a Drury or an Austin I think on this Yankee team he might be more valuable. On any other team that might not be the case because on other teams they are players who would be starters. With this Yankee club, Torreyes knows his role and he excels in that role better than anybody else could on the current roster.
He deserved better than this but the good thing is you know that whenever he comes back he will be ready to pick things up right where he left off. Let’s just hope that’s sooner rather than later.