Brian Cashman's take on Gleyber Torres' contract doesn't seal slugger's Yankees fate

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game Two
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game Two / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

Though it's fallen into the background because of all the other impact moves the New York Yankees have made this offseason, Gleyber Torres' future in the Bronx remains a prominent talking point as he enters a contract year.

Trade rumors have surrounded the slugging second baseman the past two seasons. His tenure as a Yankee has been polarizing, mainly because the start to his career was so good that he's been unable to match that production.

On top of that, questions regarding effort have surrounded Torres ever since 2020. That year, Brian Cashman publicly called him out for not arriving to summer camp (the COVID-shortened season) in shape. Since, Torres was approached by manager Aaron Boone for not hustling out a ground ball (and he's been guilty of such an infraction on more than one occasion). He's made many defensive and baserunning lapses that would be deemed unacceptable for a player of his stature and experience.

But then ... he'll be the only desirable hitter in the Yankees' lineup during a given stretch. He'll club an opposite-field home run you'd rarely see from a modern day second baseman. He'll make a sterling defensive play that'll make you question how he ever made an error in the past.

The ups and downs of Torres are well documented, which is probably why he hasn't been signed to an extension yet. Cashman was asked about that exact topic on Thursday and confirmed there were no talks between the two sides, and that Torres is the Yankees' second baseman "for this season."

Brian Cashman's take on Gleyber Torres' contract doesn't seal slugger's Yankees fate

But before the Torres hive breaks down, calls this blasphemy, and tells everybody else they will rue the day Torres signs elsewhere, let's take a breath. The lack of contract extension talks is a reality for a reason.

First off, Torres' hot-and-cold nature doesn't warrant a guarantee beyond this year, even if we omit the factors we're about to elaborate upon.

The Yankees' payroll is in the $300 million range. Right now, they can't really fathom future commitments not named Juan Soto because guys like Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu and Carlos Rodón have to show us something. Those three alone account for $74 million in 2024 and each are signed through at least 2026.

Then you have Soto, whose likely slated for a ~$500 million contract in free agency this offseason, and if the Yankees manage to keep him, they'd much rather do that without a lengthy Torres extension on the books. They can figure out Torres after Soto is settled, especially if Torres wants to stay.

It's also imperative Torres responds with intensity in a contract year. Why? Though he's largely handled the pressure well in New York, he's completely disappeared over the team's last 10 postseason games. Also, the trade rumors in 2022 affected him so badly that his all-time terrible month of August was among the driving factors in the Yankees nearly blowing a 15.5-game division lead. He has a good MLB track record, but there's a little left to be desired.

He'll have to earn it. We wouldn't say that's "fair," but Torres' career is a tale of two extremes, and it's crescendoed with the Yankees' need to return to relevancy from a championship perspective.

If everything comes together as it should, everyone will be happy, but we won't know until November. This is by no means the end, and any overreaction is a display of pessimism.