On what planet does a player who's hitting .275 with an .815 OPS and 121 OPS+ have his future "up in the air"? Well, if you're a New York Yankees fan, you know up has been down and down has been up the last few years, and nothing has exemplefied that better than the case of Gleyber Torres.
Torres is in a peculiar spot solely because it's now clear he'll never be able to replicate his rookie and sophomore seasons from 2018 and 2019. Much like Gary Sánchez's time in pinstripes, Torres hasn't improved. He's regressed, rebounded from that regression, and has managed to be both impactful and frustrating at the same time.
He has far too many lapses for a veteran of six seasons. He could be far better as a situational hitter, but he just isn't. He should be more of a presence and team leader given his ample experience as part of the team's recent playoff window. But he isn't.
His production is undeniable, though. He's a top middle infielder in the game. He has an all-around good bat. His defense can be sparkling when he's not absent-minded. He's just 26 years old.
So what are the Yankees to do now that he's entering his final season of team control? Should Torres be extended, traded or kept for the ride in 2024 to see what happens?
What should the Yankees' offseason plan with Gleyber Torres be?
This has been a topic of conversation for a good while, with a lot of infighting from fans arguing about Torres' importance. There's validity on both sides. Torres can be wildly underwhelming and frustrating. Torres is also a very good player, even with his bad 2020 and 2021 seasons thrown into the mix. And he's proved that with a resurgent 2023 (even though it's been littered with unthinkable gaffes).
Which scenario for Torres do you prefer?
Extending him would further clog the Yankees' payroll (he should probably be a $20+ million per year player) and also force them to make more moves with their up-and-coming infield prospects. Do you trust Brian Cashman to make two correct decisions? And even so, is Torres someone you're hell bent on being a Yankee for life? He's been part of the reason everything's gone south since 2019. Paying him only maintains the frustrating status quo we've been trying to escape for years.
Trading him could be smart. It could also be dumb. As a top middle infielder, the Yankees would be losing out on a position advantage most other teams don't have. And again, you're entrusting Cashman to get the proper value in return ... which he's largely been unable to do during this all-important window. If you can get somone who can start a playoff game, then it's probably a win. Anything less isn't worth anybody's time. This will need to be a home run or it'll prove to be a waste.
Right now, it really feels as if letting Torres play out 2024 is the best move for all. The Yankees don't need another roster vacancy/another position filled by an unproven talent as they're seemingly figuring out a whole lot after promoting four of their top prospects over the last few weeks. Oswald Peraza wouldn't be better at second base. It's probably best to keep DJ LeMahieu at third. No other prospect is ready to take the reins. And the worst thing that could happen here is Torres blows the doors off 2024 and increases his free agency value. The Yankees could greatly benefit from that and then would have their answer, since they won't be paying top-of-market money for him. And if he stinks? The Yankees can either sign him for less or know the relationship is over.
If he ends up staying, great. You have a second baseman for the long haul and can immediately start shifting focus on how to address the depth in the farm system. If he leaves, there's plenty of time between now and then for the Yankees to come up with some contingency plans for 2025 and beyond.
It doesn't feel like there's necessarily a wrong decision here, but there's definitely a wrong way to go about it, and it all comes down to timing for Cashman and the front office.