The Yankees' 2024 arbitration projections are out, thanks to the crack team at MLB Trade Rumors. While plenty is still up in their air regarding the fringes of the 40-man roster and a few core relievers, one thing seems certain: Gleyber Torres is either fated for a fight, or will be suiting up elsewhere in 2024.
Because, knowing the Yankees, there's no way they absorb his projected cost without taking him into a lawyer-filled room (or letting somebody else pay him).
New York's recent history of arbitration battles has been marked by unpleasantness. That's not anti-Yankees sentiment; it's par for the course. Any time your relationship with a player recedes to the point where you have to bring in some suits to scream at and devalue them, you're in a dark place. Dellin Betances never forgot Randy Levine's slight, and Aaron Judge almost allowed the difference of a view million dollars to send him into free agency slighted last offseason.
That's why Torres' MLB Trade Rumors arbitration projection, which dropped Friday, seems so significant. The evaluators predict his salary will rise from $9.95 million in 2023 to $15.3 million in his final year of arbitration. That seems like a sky-high level to which the Yankees will not rise, either setting up a nasty and distracting feud, or fueling Brian Cashman to explore a trade, offensive loss be damned.
Yankees Arbitration Projections 2024: Gleyber Torres isn't only Yankee in danger
Considering his precarious long-term position anyway, it's almost as if Torres' high arbitration projection gives the Yankees a head start on either planning to absorb his elevated cost or moving on.
Other intriguing projections include Jonathan Loaisiga at $2.5 million, considering Aaron Boone hinted he was getting frustrated with the right-hander's injury issues late in the year. That's not a terribly big amount to swallow, though, and might still be worth the risk.
This also seems likely to be Michael King's last year making reliever money; the right-hander could be in for a bigger-than-normal raise next year as he transitions roles and finds success. That might also be (shudder) impetus for the Yankees to sell high on him, too.
There are plenty of smaller berries to be plucked off the vine here and non-tendered, as well, from Kyle Higashioka's projected $2.3 million to Franchy Cordero's gobsmacking $1.6 million (how does he make Loaisiga money?).
At the end of the day, the Yankees are saying goodbye to more than enough money this offseason to be competitive in free agency, from Josh Donaldson's bloated number to Luis Severino's post-extension figures. But it never seems to be quite enough for the Steinbrenners, which could lead to early walking papers for Torres over $6 million.