The Yankees’ offseason will be filled with many questions, and we will be getting the answers bit by bit. There is Aaron Judge and his future, Anthony Rizzo’s player option, the left field situation. There’s what will happen with Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and what kind of role will Oswald Peraza and Oswaldo Cabrera have in 2023. And that’s only the position player side of things.
Speaking of position players on the Yankees, it’s fair to wonder what the future holds for second baseman Gleyber Torres. He showed this year that he is a fine regular, but his ceiling is somewhat limited at this point.
Back in 2018, when he hit 24 home runs in 123 games and finished with a 121 wRC+ as a 21-year-old, it seems like the sky was the limit for him. This was specially true when he slugged 38 dingers the following season. Middle infielders that can approach 40 homers don’t grow on trees.
He struggled through much of 2020 and 2021, and with a lot of work, was able to rebound this year, at least in the first half. His final numbers in 2022 were acceptable: a .257/.310/.451 line, 24 home runs, 73 runs, 76 RBI, an a 115 wRC+ in 572 plate appearances. Yet the organization is clearly willing to part with him if the return is worth it. And that should be the right approach. With Torres’ ceiling (and floor, to some extent) in question, the organazation should be open to anything when it comes to the keystone.
With Gleyber, the 2019 campaign made us think he could be a middle-of-the-order thumper for years to come, but in reality, offense was up across the league because of the ball. His performance that year (a .535 slugging percentage and 38 homers) may have tricked the fan base into thinking he was a perennial 35-homer threat.
The expectations that us, and fans, built on Torres are not his fault, though. He has worked a lot to be the best version of himself he can be, and a 115 wRC+ hitter with respectable defense at an up-the-middle positions is a fine player to have.
The Yankees, however, are always on the lookout for more, as they should. It was reported that they had a deal fall through around the deadline involving Torres and Miami Marlins starter Pablo López. If Gleyber can fetch something around that tier, whether it is a hitter or a pitcher, they should definitely explore all options.
They have DJ LeMahieu ready to play second, or could go with Cabrera, Peraza, or even Anthony Volpe if they feel he is ready and wins a spot in spring training. They could also fill the gap with a mid-tier free agent like Kolten Wong or Jean Segura, should they hit the market (they have club options). They have a variety of ways to fill out their infield, with the emergence of Cabrera in particular allowing the Yankees loads of flexibility in how they fill out their roster and allocate their resources.
The Yankees need an upgrade at third base, shortstop, and perhaps even left field. If Rizzo doesn’t return, they may need to seek a first baseman, too. Gleyber could be a nice way to start a trade package for a good player: he is still young at 25-years-old and was competent both offensively and defensively.
There shouldn’t be any issues if he stays because, as stated, he is a good player. But the player who oozed potential three or four years ago appears to be gone, replaced by a solid, if unspectacular contributor.