Gleyber Torres’ Role With Yankees
Gleyber Torres hit very well during his first two years with the club. In 2018, Torres produced a slash line of .271/.340/.480. The following year, he raked a slash line of .278/.337/.535.
Torres hit 24 home runs and drove in 77 RBI in 2018. He topped that in 2019 with 38 home runs and 90 RBI.
During the abbreviated 2020 season, Torres inherited the shortstop role full-time following the departure of Didi Gregorius. His offense suffered (his batting average sank to .243, and he only hit three home runs and drove in 16 RBI), possibly due to his need to focus on fielding a new position regularly (or the various other complications of a pandemic.
But Torres’ power outage and lackluster hitting have continued in 2021. He has only banged six home runs, driven in 37 RBI, and produced a mediocre slash line of .243/.325/.334.
Further, Torres’ shoddy fielding has been a constant, regardless of whether he has played second base or shortstop. His offensive regression and poor fielding have clearly hurt the team.
Unlike Voit’s situation, the Bombers did not pick up a replacement for Torres before the trading deadline. However, there is the possibility that by adding Rizzo to the infield, the Boys in Pinstripes will have more flexibility in moving the infield chess pieces around.
This could result in less playing time for Torres, depending on how Boone wants to set the table. Rougned Odor could play third base with Gio Urshela at short and LeMahieu at second base. Or, even better, Odor could play second base, and LeMahieu could be slotted at third base with Urshela at short. There now will be less need for LeMahieu to play first.
Moves that were made by other teams also might portend the future for Torres. For some unexplained reason, the Colorado Rockies elected not to trade Trevor Story, their All-Star shortstop. The Colorado shortstop will now be available as a free agent during the offseason, and Cashman can decide whether to pursue him then without relinquishing any assets. Of course, Story would be a significant upgrade at shortstop and would replace Torres at that position. He also will cost a lot.
A trade that did happen and that may potentially affect Torres’ future involved the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals. The Nationals traded RHP Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner from the Nationals for two top prospects and two mid-tier prospects.
Turner will move from shortstop to second base, and Corey Seager, a free agent this offseason, will play shortstop after returning from the IL. Turner becomes a free agent in 2023.
Reading the baseball tea leaves, it appears that the Dodgers will likely let Seager bail during the offseason and replace him with Turner next year. Seager will then be another possible outstanding replacement for Torres for the Yanks to pursue.
While it is unlikely that Torres will improve his fielding during the next two months, he might enhance his offensive stats. If this happens, the Bombers could trade him for a solid pitcher (or a key position player) to augment the starting rotation during the offseason.