The New York Yankees will owe Gleyber Torres approximately $15 million next season if they manage to keep him through Opening Day and sit through the arbitration process. Despite Torres being the 2023 team's second-best hitter (per OPS+), it seems more likely than not his money pile will reside on someone else's roster before Opening Day.
Now, Torres shouldn't have been the Yankees' second-best hitter. If kept, he shouldn't enter 2024 projected to be their second-best hitter, either. This team should prioritize improving the lineup, not plotting out various ways to worsen it and save cash. But, hey, not our money, and the writing's on the wall here.
Did that wall writing get a little bit darker and clearer to read on Wednesday afternoon? Or did the pre-Thanksgiving Mariners trade that shook up the hot stove slightly mean nothing for the Bronx Bombers after all?
Just before the pie was ready, Seattle sent Eugenio Suarez to Arizona for hard-throwing (and erratic) reliever Carlos Vargas and backup catcher (and Yankee killer) Seby Zavala. Suarez is set to count ~$9.428 million against the luxury tax next season, and his departure takes the Mariners to approximately $147 million in payroll. New addition Luis Urías, who will apparently start at third base, will cost $4 million in 2024. Congratulations on the savings and the regressing lineup, Seattle, as the Mariners will now operate with a payroll that sits over $40 million lower than last year's number.
Does that mean the Ms, a competitive team, have some wiggle room? Or does it mean they've begun a bleak offseason cost-cutting exercise? The direction the Mariners go in could ultimately determine the fate of Torres.
Yankees-Mariners to revisit Gleyber Torres trade talks after Eugenio Suarez trade?
The Yankees were heavily rumored to deal Torres last offseason, too, and are likely glad they waited for him to surpass an .800 OPS once more and become a more festive trade target. Last winter, the Mariners opted to fill their second base vacancy with Kolten Wong instead, a "Luis Urías-esque move" if we've ever seen one. Wong didn't survive the season, eventually taking key plate appearances with the playoff Dodgers for some reason.
If the Mariners are intent on letting Teoscar Hernández walk without sliding a replacement in behind him and slicing payroll just as they were starting to open their window with daring moves like the Luis Castillo trade, then that's certainly one way to go about building a competitive roster. But, right now, Urías is their starting third baseman, a half-year after he was dumped to the Red Sox in a "hey, your problem now" move and stuck there for two months. Josh Rojas is their starter at second, followed on the depth chart by Gerrit Cole Finger-Wagging Victim José Caballero. This is not a championship team. This is not a playoff team. This is a team that could use Torres if they intend to get serious.
Of course, the Mariners could just be planning to save money and install someone like free agent Gio Urshela at third. Don't be stunned if the Ms aren't "misleading" anyone, and are instead screaming out loud that they'd like to save cash before doing exactly that.