After arguably two of the most promising seasons possible to start an MLB career, Gleyber Torres has endured the following two from literal hell. His transition to shortstop couldn’t even last a full season’s worth of games. The New York Yankees pulled the plug on Monday and moved him back to second base.
Though his defense has been dreadful, his regression on offense has really made everything worse. All that meant was his gaffes in the field would be further magnified and the fans would be less forgiving in every respect.
Things boiled over earlier in the year when Torres pretty much speed-walked to first base on a check-swing dribbler against the Atlanta Braves on April 21. After that game, manager Aaron Boone said he was going to talk to the young slugger about his lack of hustle.
Fast forward to mid-September … and that problem has popped up again.
Seriously? At this point, hustling should be the first thing on Torres’ mind. He has 10 home runs in his last 152 games. He’s sporting an 86 OPS+. He’s made 18 errors at shortstop (good for the fourth-worst mark in MLB).
But he decided to gingerly jog to first base on a wicked ground ball on Tuesday night, and Boone took him out of the game.
Is Gleyber Torres testing the Yankees’ patience?
At this point, it’s worth questioning how this is even an issue. It’s not like Torres has been treated exceptionally unfairly to warrant this behavior. Sure, general manager Brian Cashman didn’t have the nicest commentary about him in the offseason — he said Torres was a better second baseman than SS and arrived at summer camp last year out of shape — but he got over 150 games at shortstop to prove himself, and he failed to do so.
Boone’s gone out of his way to keep any unfavorable commentary surrounding Torres as diplomatic as possible (as he’s done with just about all the team’s players). The 24-year-old has to know he’s hurting the Yankees with his play — actually, he admitted it on Tuesday! — so why even bring a lack of hustle into the conversation?
And then he did THIS on Wednesday night:
Is he even paying attention anymore? That nearly cost the Yankees the game after Chad Green allowed the go-ahead two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the eighth when the inning should’ve been over.
Bad seasons happen. Lapses in judgement happen. Slumps are very real. But someone like Torres, who has drastically fallen out of the organization’s good graces because of his production, cannot allow the top decision makers to question his dedication to the game based on his poor body language and lack of motivation.
This better not happen again or we might start hearing legitimate chatter about this being his last season in the Bronx … because the Yankees have many avenues to find a solution with the upcoming free agent class.