There have been a lot of different feelings surrounding Torres’ absence and Velazquez’s debut with the Bombers. The Yankees went 16-6 without Torres and endured that wild 13-game winning streak with the help of Velazquez’s reliable defense, somewhat timely bat (that’s just about all the team needs from him, really) and his speed on the base paths.
Torres’ defense, though he some has four defensive runs saved on the year, still doesn’t pass the eye test. He remains passive, he doesn’t quite have superior range, and his arm strength just doesn’t seem to be coming around.
All of those concerns were evident on one costly play in the series finale against the Baltimore Orioles, which ended up contributing to a Yankees loss.
Did a lot of other things go wrong that ruined this one? Absolutely. But often times when the opponent gets any sort of window against New York, that’s when the floodgates open for more bad stuff to happen.
And it all began in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs when Torres failed to make a routine play.
Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres is still a defensive liability.
Doesn’t charge it. Takes two crow-hops before throwing. And the throw was weak. Not in time, inning extended … for Cedric Mullins to hit a two-run homer and make it a one-run game. The Yankees eventually lose, 8-7.
At this point, plays like that just can’t be happening. We’re in September. That’s a routine grounder of the bat of a right-handed hitter. If a lefty beats that out, then it’s somewhat forgivable, but on no planet should this have been an infield single.
Again, not 100% Torres’ fault the Yankees tripped over themselves time and time again, but it’s failures like these that play a bigger factor than you’d realize later in the game/down the road.
So do you really think it’s any surprise the team opted to keep Velazquez on the roster? He’s by no means going to take Torres’ job, but now the Yankees know there’s a reliable defender/true shortstop behind Torres in the event a defensive replacement needs to be made or if Torres slumps offensively and/or needs a rest. This was a team without a backup shortstop for the entire year up until Velazquez’s promotion (no, Gio Urshela and Tyler Wade don’t count).
Now, if Boone needs to make a change, he has the appropriate tools to do so.