1. Gleyber Torres (2018-Present)
After the 2019 season ended, the Yanks decided not to re-sign shortstop Didi Gregorius. As a free agent and solid ballplayer, the team would have had to pay a significant salary to retain him.
Rather than do this, the club decided to switch Gleyber Torres from second base to shortstop to save money. Also, as a young stud, he appeared to have unlimited potential and could eventually become an even better player than Gregorius.
Torres’ early success at the plate was not matched by his performance in the field. However, Cashman and Boone felt that Torres would have enough time to improve his defense as he developed as a young player. They apparently believed that his fielding and throwing would catch up with his excellent hitting over time. This made sense then.
In 40 games during the shortened pandemic 2020 season, he made nine errors as the team’s new shortstop. His fielding and throwing still suffered during spring training in 2021.
During the 2021 season, he played 108 games at shortstop and committed a dismal 18 errors for a .952 fielding percentage. This was substantially below the league’s average of .974 at the position.
The Bombers lost a number of important games due to his poor play at short. The fact that he regressed as a hitter in 2021 made matters worse.
Boone waited until the very end of the 2021 season to finally terminate the Torres shortstop experiment and switch him back to second base. The change worked. In 169.1 innings, he made only one error, and his hitting improved at the same time. His effective play at second and better hitting probably assured him a place on the team for the 2022 season.
Still, the Yankees waited too long to move Torres from shortstop to second base. This experiment cost the club home-field advantage for the Wild Card game during this year’s playoffs. There’s just no refuting that.
Yankee fans can probably point to additional instances where the Bombers took too long to admit that an experiment was not working. While MLB teams should exhibit a reasonable amount of patience with new players as well as those who are changing positions, they also must know when ample time has been given for things to work out.
Hopefully, Boone has learned his lesson with Sanchez and Torres as he embarks on his next stint with the Yankees.