3. Find a New Shortstop
Since joining the Yankees, shortstop Gleyber Torres has exhibited potential superstar talent in the batter’s box. In 2018, the then 21-year-old raked a slash line of .271/.340/.480. The following year he produced a slash line of .278/.337/.535. He also had an OPS+ of 122 and 127 in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Especially noteworthy were his 38 home runs and 90 RBI in 2019.
In 2018, Torres played second base in 109 games and shortstop in 21 games. The following year, he played more games at short than at second base (77 versus 65 games, respectively). Obviously, the Yanks were planning on him becoming their next shortstop in Didi Gregorius’ absence.
However, while Torres’ hitting has been impressive, his fielding has continued to be shoddy. In 2018, he made a dozen errors at second base and five errors at shortstop. In 2019, he made nine errors at second base and 11 errors playing shortstop. His fielding range stats at the two positions were lacking as well.
In 40 games during the 2020 season, Torres took over sole possession of shortstop, and he made nine errors. His fielding and throwing are still a troublesome problem in the 2021 season. He already has cost the Yanks games because of his poor play at shortstop.
Not surprisingly, analysts and fans have become increasingly concerned about the team’s problem at shortstop, but everyone still expects Torres to pound the ball eventually during the 2021 season.
However, many are beginning to have serious doubts about whether he actually can improve his fielding and throwing. Therefore, it is not surprising that Boone has already started to audition Gio Urshela at shortstop and bring in Tyler Wade to replace Torres in later innings.
If Urshela demonstrates that he can play shortstop in addition to third base, this will give the team the option of acquiring either a new shortstop or a new third baseman (with Gio playing the other position). These developments will all make trading Torres more likely.
We are all aware of the elite class of shortstops scheduled to hit the free agency market this upcoming offseason. The Yankees might want to begin planning after the All-Star break regarding which free agent shortstops they’ll pursue and how they can market Torres for a trade for a new center fielder, third baseman, or starting pitcher (or catcher, if need be) before the trade deadline or during the offseason.