Gleyber Torres is handling his Yankees walk year perfectly

By growing a mustache. And also other reasons.
2024 New York Yankees Spring Training
2024 New York Yankees Spring Training / New York Yankees/GettyImages

Gleyber Torres is entering his Yankees walk year with a good deal of positive momentum. While no successful team should tout 2023 Torres as their second-best hitter (and oh boy, were the 2023 Yankees unsuccessful), his 118 OPS+ campaign with 25 bombs and a .273 average was far more reminiscent of his juiced ball 2019 than anything that followed in its immediate path.

In fact, Torres tripped narrowly past the .800 OPS threshold, hitting the number exactly (and somewhat silently, as most fans stewed over the team's struggles instead of giving him props).

Will Torres remain with the team beyond 2024 when he makes his first foray into free agency? He'll need to be an essential contributor this season. He'll also need to acknowledge that recent import Juan Soto will be commanding a large chunk of the Yankees' attention. He'll have to wait.

But that seems alright with Torres, who acknowledged this week that his reps haven't even begun discussions, despite his stated desire to be a "Yankee for life." No dark cloud hanging over the season. No frenzied spring attempts to get something done, placing Torres firmly into a funk when a deal inevitably doesn't materialize. Just a full season, spent relatively shaded from the spotlight, for Torres to prove he deserves to be only the second Baby Bomber to stick around.

Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres wants to be a Yankee for life, respects the business

Of all the Yankees' walk year candidates, Torres actually has a relatively clear path to being extended "for life." If Oswald Peraza fails to distinguish himself this summer as a viable starter, the Yankees aren't going to hand him a job in 2025, which will be another chapter in the Yankees' eternal line of competitive, pressure-packed seasons. They won't willfully downgrade second base during a championship window. It might be Peraza, if he shines. It might be a stopgap like Whit Merrifield. Or it might be Torres, as long as he's willing to accept some form of hometown discount (or if Hal Steinbrenner awakens in December suddenly down to go the extra mile).

Juan Soto will still be the team's undisputed top priority, but Torres, a homegrown Yankee and fan favorite, has a better chance of staying in town than fellow motivated walk-year Yankees like Alex Verdugo and Clay Holmes.

Then again, he could struggle in '24 and make contract negotiations a depressing foregone conclusion. But he's off to a great start in the opposite direction already, bringing a perfect mindset to a season he must crush.