Luis Torrens has been a major league-caliber catcher with the Padres, Mariners and Cubs, with solid consistency since 2020. The Yankees suspected this when they signed Torrens in international free agency back in 2012. Unfortunately for New York's braintrust, the Padres harbored the same suspicion.
That's why San Diego made the almost unprecedented move to claim Torrens in the Rule 5 Draft in 2017 at the tender age of 20. Torrens was a fast-rising top prospect with just 40 games of full-season minor-league ball under his belt. In order to keep him in the Pads' system, San Diego would have to keep him on the active big-league roster all season long as a third catcher, potentially hindering his development significantly.
They did not care. They did it anyway. Torrens hit .163 in 139 plate appearances that season, at which point San Diego was free to send him to the minors, depriving the Yankees of a developmental project in the process.
Ultimately, Torrens never caught on as much more than a depth piece; his best season in the bigs involved 15 homers in 108 games for the 2021 Seattle Mariners, good for a 102 OPS+ and paired with lauded defense. Now, he's unfortunately been forced to settle for a minor-league pact entering his age-28 season...
...and it's the Yankees who are giving it to him! Take that, 2017 Padres!
Yankees sign Luis Torrens, another catcher, to minor-league deal
Do the Yankees need him? Abbbbbbsolutely not. In fact, the team's depth at catcher already seems superfluous. There are five backstops currently on the 40-man roster, including third-stringer/Gerrit Cole's whipping boy Ben Rortvedt and minor-league options Agustin Ramirez and Carlos Narvaez.
The signing of Torrens could signal a Rortvedt/Narvaez trade, or it could just represent another flyer of the Jeter Downs variety, which is even easier to swallow without having to use a 40-man spot. Unfortunately, the reality is that even trickster moves involve real, live humans who need playing time in order to thrive on the field and maintain a positive mood off of it.
Torrens returning to the Yankees organization represents justice being done, but likely not much else.