Yankees ignoring a perfect Dodgers trade target in Gleyber Torres swap

The Yankees need to free a blocked Dodgers prospect from limbo.
Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers
Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

If the Yankees are going to trade Gleyber Torres -- and it sure seems like they will, in order to save $15 million -- they'd better not beef the return. Alex Verdugo, other than his handedness, would not help. Torres shouldn't have been the Yankees' second-best hitter last season, but replacing him with a less powerful headcase won't help restore balance to the force.

The Yankees, if they're theoretically talking about Verdugo, were correct to target potentially helpful players who appear blocked or forced out at their current home. They were, in this case, incorrect to target Verdugo, a fringe-average player who's also due a relatively large salary this season (he made $6.3 million this season and is also entering his walk year).

So ... are there any left-handed bats with significant potential who are available, per chance? Who don't play for the Cardinals? Who are, possibly, being dangled by contenders in "win now and later" mode? Contenders who could easily absorb Torres' ~$15 million salary and consider a resulting long-term contract if the marriage works?

What about the Dodgers, who've incubated Triple-A masher Michael Busch for years now, and risk devaluing him if they don't intend to hand him big-league reps. This week, Dodgers GM Brandon Gomes speculated that Busch could be moved to left field if Los Angeles needed a last-ditch solution once the offseason neared its end. That sounds like neither a vote of confidence, nor a sell-high opportunity.

Yankees Trade Gleyber Torres to Dodgers for Michael Busch. Who Says No?

Someone's going to Free Busch at some point. Why not Cashman and the Yankees, who should be getting as many bites at the "Lefty Bat" Apple as possible?

Busch's MLB output last year was limited and muted (.167 average/.539 OPS in 72 at-bats). At the Triple-A level, though, he was viewed as a conqueror, triple-slashing .323/.431/.618 for a 1.049 OPS, drilling 27 homers and driving in 90 runs. Pretty nice counting numbers. Aaron Judge should love those.

Busch, a 2019 first-rounder and current 26-year-old former North Carolina Tar Heel? His time is now. Or, at least, it has to be if he's going to get a fair shot at a big-league career. That doesn't seem likely to come with the Dodgers, a team that trotted him out sparingly during his breakout season and didn't consider using him with their playoff run approaching (great call, offense in October was dynamite).

Torres was the 2023 Yankees' second-best hitter, but seems fated to enter his walk year elsewhere. Verdugo would be a one-year patch; he's on the same timeline as Torres, and doesn't provide the Yankees much to chew on in terms of future planning (and, uh, isn't in Torres' class as a player anyway). Busch and a Dodgers pitching prospect (Kyle Hurt?) for the Yankees' incumbent second baseman. It's literally the least both parties can do for everyone involved here.