Brian Cashman waved his magic wand to include Starlin Castro in a deal for Giancarlo Stanton last weekend, shocking even the rest of the Yankees’ front office, especially Hal Steinbrenner. Seriously, did you see his face at Stanton’s introductory press conference? Whatever spell Cashman cast on Derek Jeter seemed to spread to Steinbrenner, putting them both under his command.
The trade for Stanton didn’t just mean a uniting of baseball’s two large adult sons, but also seemed to pave the way for the game’s top prospect. With second base suddenly vacated, Yankees fans immediately began anticipating the arrival of Gleyber Torres. After Chase Headley and his $13 million were shipped back to San Diego, Torres to the Bronx now feels like a certainty.
Cashman stressed last month that Torres would compete for a starting spot in 2017, and his best chance would be at third base, where only Headley stood in his way. With two infield spots now open, including, he should be in the starting lineup fairly soon after the 2018 season begins.
Torres, who just celebrated his 21st birthday, is the number two prospect in baseball according to MLB.com. That’s despite undergoing Tommy John surgery early in the 2017 season. He batted .448 with six doubles and two homers in spring training last year. Then he hit .304 in 22 games at Triple-A before injuring his left elbow on a play at the plate in June.
Judging by reports, and his awesome Instagram videos, Torres appears back to health and ready to begin his major league career. It will happen, just maybe not right away. He will be starting at either second or third base for the Yankees in 2018, but will likely be in Scranton on Opening Day. If the team leaves him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the 2018 season, they will earn another year of team control in 2024. It’s tough to argue against that call.
Cashman is playing it safe with Torres and keeping him away from winter ball, but he will be at spring training, ready to show the Yankees that his non-throwing arm is back to full health. He might even prove that he’s ready to join the rest of the Baby Bombers in the Bronx. That said, if the front office is convinced he’s ready, they may still hold Torres off for two more weeks to gain that extra year of team control. Ronald Torreyes, Tyler Wade or an outside source could fill in temporarily, but they won’t stop the inevitable arrival of the Yankees’ prized prospect.