At that moment, his future earnings potential was laid squarely in his hands. All that’s left is the production.
Torres’ bizarre 2020 season, in which he largely struggled in a transition to shortstop and hit just .243 with three homers while juggling his new life, set back his timeline significantly.
Will Torres still get a big-money extension someday? Most likely! But the uncertainty that clouded him in ’20 removed the possibility of the Yankees buying out all his arbitration years, as the Padres did for Tatis Jr.
They’d still like to learn more.
The Padres, on the other hand, saw so much star potential in Tatis Jr.’s two seasons in San Diego that they chose chaos, locking their shortstop and franchise face up through the age of 35. It was a bold call, but it’s also the kind of call you can make when you’re set up to contend for multiple years, don’t self-impose the same payroll restrictions as other overly-cautious franchises, and would rather win than escape taxation.
It’s just money, after all. But don’t expect the Yankees to operate in the same manner whatsoever with Torres’ deal.
For one thing, the Yankees aren’t going to make any sudden moves with Torres, considering there is a whole host of star free agent shortstops hitting the market next season.
In fact, it’s more likely that the Yanks drop the bag at Trevor Story’s feet than it is they preemptively reward Torres next offseason.
Ditto for Javier Baez. Ditto for Carlos Correa. Ditto for Corey Seager. Hell, even Francisco Lindor’s price just rose precipitously — he’s another GameStop away from being outside the Mets’ payroll range.
The Yankees spend, but they do so in premeditated fashion, and not without limits. Essentially, they deferred the money that could’ve gone to Manny Machado two seasons ago to sign Gerrit Cole, while the true Evil Empire move would’ve simply been…signing both. The Yanks pick and choose; the Padres, on the other hand, have shown willing to eat anything. Don’t tell them paying Tatis Jr. for 14 years after two partial seasons was unwise. They clearly don’t mind the risk, and can wash it away if need be.
New York, however, has seen a season’s worth of backslide from Torres — a shortened season, sure, but the fact that it came at a new position, one that he must master moving forward, is at least somewhat troubling. Expect at least two seasons to pass before the Bombers even consider a Torres extension of any kind.
Projecting a Yankees extension for Gleyber Torres
As far as we can tell, the two sides will begin talking in earnest following the 2022 season, when Aaron Judge hits free agency. Safe to say the Yankees will have more on their plate at that point, and an extension will not come to fruition.
It’s far more likely that, if they come away impressed with his progression, the Bombers move to buy out Torres’ second and third arbitration years in 2023 and 2024, and extend him at the age of 27 for either seven or eight years.
Make no mistake: they’ll only entertain the extension if Torres owns the shortstop position and uses that bravado to display his leadership qualities. If there is an extension, it’ll be a large one; if Torres hasn’t earned it, the Yanks will let his contract expire — or look to trade him well before this day arrives.
If there’s an extension, expect a $30 million AAV across likely seven years. But these next two years will determine that, as will Judge’s progress and long-term role.