Juan Soto's best friend on Yankees could complicate free agency

Package deal?
New York Yankees v Houston Astros
New York Yankees v Houston Astros / New York Yankees/GettyImages

New York Yankees teammates Juan Soto and Gleyber Torres already get along famously, according to an in-depth new profile that shows how seamlessly Soto has managed to fit into a well-formed clubhouse in a matter of weeks.

Only problem? Torres, like Soto, is a free agent after this season. Baseball's a business. Sure. We get it. But if the Yankees weren't already game-planning to sign Torres long-term (and we don't think they will), then they'd better start at least entertaining it.

That calculus changed this offseason long before Soto's new friendship was unveiled; Oswald Peraza was supposed to have established himself as a potential future piece by now. Instead, he's on the shelf to begin the season -- a season where he seemed likely to be relegated to the bench (and to purgatory) anyway. Pieces like Roderick Arias and George Lombard Jr. are still coming from the low minors, but neither player is close enough to bank on for 2025. Torres still has an opportunity to sell himself -- and become a "Yankee for life," a desire he stated this offseason -- before 2024 wraps.

Pairing himself to Soto is a pretty helpful way to relaunch that campaign.

Could Juan Soto, Gleyber Torres team up in free agency ... away from Yankees?

Steve Cohen loves dipping into the ex-Yankees pool, doesn't he? From Harrison Bader to Luis Severino to David Robertson to Adam Ottavino (repeatedly), he seems to believe that plumbing former Yanks -- most of whom have been squeezed off the roster in semi-disgrace -- is box office.

In that vein, Torres has always felt like a fit for Cohen's plan -- that is, if he continued to play just well enough to price himself out of the Bronx while remaining somewhat enigmatic defensively and in moments where a lapse in judgment could ruin a ballgame.

If Torres repeats his 2023 season, though, and plays at a borderline All-Star level in his walk year, the Yankees likely won't let him out the door quite so easily. Add in his budding brotherhood with Soto, and New York can't afford to make a miscalculation, especially with the pipeline now clouded beneath him. If he continues to struggle past the month of April, this call could get more difficult for an entirely different reason. Would the Yankees alter their belief in Torres and overlook the statistics to satiate Soto?

"Sign both" is not a bad problem to have, and a fairly straightforward solution (especially considering both players seem to love it here. But with "New York" still looming in blue and orange in the other corner of the same city, the Yankees can't take their (financial) rivals lightly here.

After all, there's a way Torres and Soto can stay "home," enjoy their favorite late-night restaurants, keep the same barber (who has a framed David Wright jersey showing in the photo of the two Yankees together), but leave the Yankees. Plenty about this season is still left to unfold, but Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner can't let that narrative leak into it.