July could determine Gleyber Torres' Yankees fate after return to emptiness, injury

Cincinnati Reds v New York Yankees
Cincinnati Reds v New York Yankees / Luke Hales/GettyImages

While Ben Rice has helped stabilize things, the Yankees' infield, once thought to be overcrowded, now harbors long-term concerns at nearly every position. Despite a wealth of possible internal options, it could be second base that is thrown the most into flux after the conclusion of this season.

While it may be hasty to jump that far ahead (especially while the team is competing for a postseason berth), Gleyber Torres has reached a crucial moment in his Yankee career that could determine his fate.

Through the first 85 games of his season, the 27-year-old has compiled eight home runs, a .296 OBP and an underwhelming .642 OPS. Further, Torres also ranks in the 34th percentile in barrel% and the 51st percentile in fielding run value.

“I think it’s bad,” Torres told the New York Post of his first half. “Have to figure out [how] to get better. I’m working really hard.”

Whether at the plate or in the field, it has not been a stellar year for Torres. Fans and pundits have had gripes regarding his hustle at times, and even greater concerns as it pertains to his overall consistency.

Barring a major move before the trade deadline, New York will likely allow the Caracas native to be the everyday second baseman until the end of the season. With key names like Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo injured and others such as DJ LeMahieu struggling to produce, Torres will have one final chance to show he deserves to be a part of the Yankees future and not just another failed “Baby Bomber.”

Of course ... that's only if he remains healthy. He exited Friday night's catastrophic loss to the Boston Red Sox before it ended, nursing the same tight groin that's ailed him for weeks. No imaging is currently planned, but this additional wrench is the last thing Torres needed to absorb.

If you’re looking for a positive to hold on to, Torres currently ranks in the 89th percentile in Chase%. At the very least, he’s not chasing many pitches out of the zone. Given he’s a player who has enjoyed multiple 20+ home run seasons, it is always possible that he gets on a hot streak and helps the offense. It appeared that was happening less than a week ago, keyed by three consecutive multi-hit games after a temporary benching against the Blue Jays. One Reds sweep later, and we're right back to square one. One hit in three games, all losses, the first two by a single run, where any little spark could've helped.

The Yankees can not afford to solely rely on Aaron Judge and Juan Soto for offense, and an impactful Torres would help the pinstripes keep within striking distance of the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East chase.

Obviously, this would not fix everything, but it would give general manager Brian Cashman and the rest of the front office something encouraging to consider ahead of Torres’ impending free agency. After all, his trade value has never been lower.