Yankees reportedly send former top prospect catcher to Mets for immediate promotion

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Seems like the Yankees' bold offseason attempt at righting an ancient wrong will end up benefitting a different MLB team.

Long ago, top prospect catcher Luis Torrens was swiped from the Yankees' minor-league system in the Rule 5 Draft long before he was fully baked. Unfortunately, by the draft's rules, the claiming Padres still had to carry Torrens on the big-league roster all season long to retain him, even if he was far from ready. This absurdity led to Torrens taking unnecessary steps back in his development as he was exposed by MLB pitching to the tune of a .163 average and 22 OPS+ in 56 games as a 21-year-old in 2017.

Surprisingly, Torrens overcame that injustice to have a few moments in the sun anyway, emerging as a viable backup catcher with the 2021 Mariners, homering 15 times for a 102 OPS+. The Yankees probably couldn't help but feel ripped off that summer. After all, they'd had a plan for Torrens, which was rudely interrupted on a technicality.

That sense of loss probably explains why they added Torrens again this past offseason; in 30 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he's hit .279 with an .807 OPS on the precipice of joining the big-league Yankees for the first time.

Unfortunately, that day will never come. With Jose Trevino and Austin Wells ahead of him, and Agustin Ramirez and Ben Rice barking behind him, the Yankees opted to give Torrens a chance to flourish elsewhere, trading him to the Mets on Friday afternoon. He's been added to the active big-league roster already in a maneuver that was partially obscured by the rest of New York's flurry (demoting Brett Baty and Christian Scott, adding Jose Iglesias).

Yankees trade catcher Luis Torrens directly onto Mets' active roster

No, there was no room for Torrens in the Bronx, but it's still a bummer that the Yankees were so close to closing an exciting loop here and didn't make it happen. Remember how satisfying it was when Manny Bañuelos somehow made the 2022 roster, then found himself in Pittsburgh surrendering an Aaron Judge smash a few months later? Hopefully, Torrens' path will be similar, resulting in big-league success elsewhere (and maybe one little Yankees-related embarrassment tucked in there, too).

The Yankees created their own catching logjam this winter in the name of giving Torrens a try. Hopefully, they used the asset properly this time rather than losing him again for nothing.