Yankees' Gleyber Torres-Pablo López trade getting axed saved Brian Cashman bad press

Imagine if the Yankees had surrendered two young offensive stars for López?

Boston Red Sox v Minnesota Twins
Boston Red Sox v Minnesota Twins / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages
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Just under a year ago, this space was full of confused flames as the Yankees' 2022 MLB trade deadline haul featured a depletion of rotation strength rather than a supplement.

After a whirlwind day where YES Network's Jack Curry planted the seeds of a shocking Gleyber Torres trade, only for nothing to materialize and Jordan Montgomery to be dealt at the buzzer instead, the Yankees ended up adding Frankie Montas, losing Montgomery and not bringing an additional pitcher on board.

There was a method to the madness, though -- or, at least, a bunch of madness that led to more madness. Per sources, the Yankees were trying to swap Torres to Miami for Pablo López, too, but that deal fell apart. Who was responsible for the apparent failure? Who knows, but the trade's collapse saved Cashman from weakening his team's offense while adding an arm in López who has traditionally struggled to stay healthy and is struggling altogether in 2023 after being extended.

After getting battered by the Red Sox on Monday, López's early 2023 "breakout" feels like years ago; he now possesses a 4.40 ERA after signing a four-year, $73.5 million extension in Minnesota that carries him through 2027. While Cashman never had a .400 hitter to exchange for him in the first place like ex-Twin Luis Arraez, there's no doubting he would be in the midst of a good raking over the coals if he'd surrendered Torres/Oswald Peraza for López, extended him, and watched him put up these numbers.

Yankees avoided disaster when Gleyber Torres/Oswald Peraza/Pablo López trade fell apart

Fair or unfair, there's no way any strangers would be extending kindness to Cashman at the moment.

The Yankees still have a long-term Torres problem to solve. With Oswald Peraza knocking on the door of regular playing time and Anthony Volpe still more likely than not to grow into a fixture, the Yankees will eventually have to determine when the right time is to pull a trigger on a Torres trade if they don't intend to re-sign him long-term (or a Peraza trade if they do).

Sending both away for an oft-injured starter in López, though, would've been roundly ridiculed, especially if they'd paid him in 2023 immediately before a slide that significantly raised his 1.73 ERA through four starts. You can get away with that in Minnesota, but not in the Bronx.

Is Torres among the Yankees' best players? He probably shouldn't be, but his 113 OPS+, .770 OPS and 0.9 bWAR make him one of the league's top performers at second base. Shucking that off a roster that looks dead in the water in June would only serve to make the team deader. Handing the ball to López mid-skid to help steer the team out of disaster would worsen such a loss. Luckily, thanks to either Cashman's ingenuity or Kim Ng demanding extra pieces and forcing inaction, the Yankees don't have to answer for this one.

Don't worry, though. When Torres is traded, we'll pick apart that return endlessly.

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