Gleyber Torres is one of the tougher modern day New York Yankees cases. Once an All-Star and a budding young franchise cornerstone, the 25-year-old saw his career turn upside down after a position switch during the shortened 2020 season.
He remained at shortstop in 2021, too, after moving from second base the year prior, and the results were almost identical: awful defense and a never-before-seen regression on offense.
Then came September of last year. He was moved back to second — where he’s clearly the most comfortable — for the final few weeks of the season and he began a mini turnaround on offense. The Yankees saw the value there and realized (though it took too long) that the disastrous defense at short needed to stop.
So Torres stayed at second base to kick off the 2022 season and in came Isiah Kiner-Falefa. The result? Decent upgrade defensively at short and an All-Star-caliber first half from Torres. He batted .268 with an .809 OPS, 44 runs scored, 14 homers 41 RBI and five stolen bases in 81 games while returning to form on the defensive end.
But then came the end of July and all of August. Torres cratered. He had his powers zapped from him and was statistically one of the worst players in the sport for more than a month. Hmmm, wonder why …
The Yankees played a big role in Gleyber Torres’ horrible slump
Beginning on July 28, Torres began to slide in a way nobody expected, even after his 2020 and 2021 seasons. The night prior, he hit a huge game-tying home run against the Mets that was unfortunately spoiled because of another bullpen meltdown.
But then the series against the Kansas City Royals began, and Torres watched his batting average (.263), OBP (.322) and slugging percentage (.479) drop 27 points, 33 points and 65 points after play on Sept. 9. That directly coincided with his name being floated in trade rumors at the end of that month and the beginning of August, which, one could assume, had a mental impact on the young slugger, who clearly struggles on that front in some capacity, as evidenced by his first position switch and how he handled critical comments from general manager Brian Cashman. You’d simply think this franchise would learn just once.
Don’t believe trade rumors could have such an adverse effect on a player? Just ask Chicago Cubs star Ian Happ, who’s been dealing with them for quite some time now and was a former teammate of Torres back in the day.
Even the fact he wasn’t traded likely still weighed on him because he was hit with a realization that he would have to continue playing and producing for a team that just tried to kick him to the curb. And how disheartening must it have been to know he was almost — according to trade rumors — sent to the Miami Marlins. That’s where players go to die.
The proof is in the splits, folks. Over the last two weeks (exactly, to the date on Sept. 23), Torres is hitting .391 with a 1.201 OPS, 10 runs scored, 4 homers, 16 RBI and two stolen bases. The Yankees are 9-2 in those 11 games.
The last hope here? Torres keeps tuning out his employer’s poor practices and brings this production into October. That’ll make for quite the turnaround on the Yankees’ part in the offseason, wouldn’t it?