Building a Yankees-Red Sox Gleyber Torres trade package that actually works

It doesn't have to make you happy, though. It doesn't make ME happy.
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game Two
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game Two / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

If the Yankees really want to test my patience by continuing to field the Red Sox' calls regarding Gleyber Torres, then the least they could do is propose a palatable return trade package.

Spoiler Alert: Exchanging Torres for Alex Verdugo doesn't quite make sense. Adding Verdugo to the Yankees' roster, in a vacuum, without even a handbag's worth of baggage attached, would technically constitute a roster fit. But we know Verdugo. We know who he is. We know his petulance, and we know his off-field troubles.

Considering that former GM Jim Bowden wrote this week that Verdugo isn't receiving many bites on the market and that Boston might only end up satisfied "if he’s packaged with other players in a much bigger deal," then the chances of the outfielder being exchanged straight up for Torres -- an objectively far superior player -- are next to nil.

So, what wouldn't cause the Yankees to hang up immediately? We'll bite our tongue and offer a "Verdugo+" option to satisfy left-handed outfield seekers who don't have the patience to wait for Juan Soto, then pitch something that doesn't include the problematic right fielder (which should go down much smoother).

Yankees-Red Sox trade packages with Gleyber Torres and, I guess, Alex Verdugo

Verdugo+ Trade Package:

Yankees Receive: Alex Verdugo, Nick Yorke, Shane Drohan

Red Sox Receive: Gleyber Torres, Matt Sauer

In this proposal, the Yankees would acquire the dreaded outfielder, a Red Sox top second base prospect (who'd earn a legitimate chance at playing time in the Bronx), and a left-handed Triple-A starter who was left shockingly unprotected ahead of the upcoming Rule 5 Draft and may be on the verge of being thieved.

The Yankees counter with Torres and an unprotected Rule 5 option of their own. Sauer is MLB Pipeline's 25th-ranked Yankees prospect, while Drohan, who struggled through last summer's Triple-A stint (5.05 ERA), is Boston's 18th rep. The Yankees receive the better prospects here because Torres is the best player in the deal by far. Presumably, the Red Sox like what they see and lay out the $100+ million extension that's coming for the infielder (from someone other than Brian Cashman).

Non-Verdugo Trade Package:

Yankees Receive: Nick Yorke, Tanner Houck

Red Sox Receive: Gleyber Torres

If Tanner Houck isn't on the Red Sox anymore and is, in fact, on the Yankees, then he can no longer terrorize the Yankees at Fenway Park. Stands to reason.

Houck is probably a reliever -- or, at the very least, hasn't earned a rotation spot with a full revamp coming in Boston. His value is diminished coming off a 106 innings of 5.01 ERA baseball, but his breaking ball was still an upper-echelon pitch last season and he induced ground balls at an elite level (89th percentile in 2023). Houck hasn't found an ideal role yet, but his vicious stuff certainly passes the eye test. If the Red Sox intend to clear out their rotation and chase Torres, they should be more than willing to nod in the general direction of this trade. Add a mid-tier top prospect (we still covet Yorke's thunderous bat) to even things out, and this could work.

Of course ... the Yankees have still, objectively, made their 2024 offense worse with this trade. If they pull the trigger on a Torres trade -- to their age-old rival or elsewhere -- they'd better have two, three or four significant lineup upgrades planned, too.