Facing a tough offseason, the New York Yankees have an MLB-high 19 players eligible for arbitration. Some of those guys will get their expected one-year offers. Others will get non-tendered. We’ll see a few of said players get traded.
Then we have the possibility of the front office trying to get ahead of the game by offering contract extensions rather than continually going through the arbitration process or sending the wrong message.
Realistically, the Yankees have a few priorities on the docket among this bunch. There are a few opportunities to save money as well. There are more than three candidates to potentially extend, but general manager Brian Cashman has to spend money on other needs, so it’s hard to predict even more than two such extensions, if we’re being honest.
Either way, the Yankees need to somewhat plan for the future outside of Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, all of whom are the only players guaranteed money and contracts after the 2022 season.
Who would you offer extensions to? It’s not the easiest of discussions, but we think trying to begin talks with these three candidates might be in the team’s best interest.
3. Gleyber Torres
Hear us out, just for a moment. We know Torres has drawn the ire of the fan base for a couple seasons now, but his switch to shortstop clearly was the wrong move and the pandemic-shortened season really can’t count for anything.
The Yankees decided to move Torres back to second base in the middle of September and we started to see his bat come around a bit. He hit .300 with an .815 OPS as a second baseman compared to .251 with a .671 OPS as a shortstop. The numbers at second base are a small sample size, but we also have a larger sample size of him dominating as a hitter while playing defense at that position.
Torres is projected to make $5.9 million after earning Super Two status, so he’ll have three more years of arbitration eligibility. Cashman mentioned last week that Torres will remain at second base, which implied he isn’t going anywhere despite there being loose speculation he might be traded.
If that’s the case, why not sign him to an extension and at least lock him up through his arb years (and potentially beyond)? In that case, maybe you save a few bucks, and in the event the conversation turns around once again and you want to trade him, he actually might have more value being locked into a salary for each year through 2024 instead of having to be burdened with the arbitration process.
The Yankees probably won’t non-tender Torres at any point through 2024 if they opt to keep him, and he might view this as a bit of security after two really underwhelming campaigns.