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Finding loose comparisons for a Gleyber Torres extension

Gleyber Torres may be playing himself into an extension, what could it look like?

Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The 2023 season feels like a pivotal one for Gleyber Torres. The Yankees’ second baseman is in his age-26 season, and is due to be a free agent after next year. Of course, his career arc in New York, in all of its variance, has been well covered. The shortened version of the story is: great start to the career, a few uninspiring years, and then a nice bounce back campaign last year. Through these varying levels of success, there have been some trade murmurs, nothing too concrete, but the thought has been in the back of heads for a while now.

As mentioned however, 2023 could change a lot of things for Torres. He’s had an excellent start to the year so far, putting up a 165 wRC+ with a couple of homers across 62 plate appearances. If he continues this, those trade murmurs could turn themselves into extension ones. This is all speculation, of course, and I won’t even get into trying to predict any actual lengths or dollar amounts. However, it’s still worthwhile to look into some reasonable comparisons that could be helpful when thinking about a hypothetical Gleyber Torres extension.

Jake Cronenworth: Eight years, $70 million

Cronenworth is 29 years old, and has been a consistent contributor for the exciting Padres for a few years now. The lefty-swinging infielder debuted in 2020, and is now coming off of back-to-back 4.1 fWAR seasons, a mark Torres has actually never reached in a season. His 114 career wRC+ is a point lower than that of Torres, and his power doesn’t quite have the ceiling that Gleyber’s does.

Cronenworth is a bit older than Torres, being 29 when he signed the extension a couple weeks ago, but he provides a lot of positional flexibility that Torres doesn’t. His defense and versatility help his overall value, but Gleyber’s peak bat is probably better, on top of him being only 26. There are no perfect comparisons, but Cronenworth could be a reasonable one.

Ketel Marte: Five years, $76 million

Marte, like the previous example, is a 29-year-old middle infielder with a lot of versatility. The switch-hitter signed his extension before last season, when he was 28, and coming off a season better than the one that followed. Over his career, he’s in the same range that Torres and Cronenworth are in, with a 110 wRC+ since his debut in 2015.

Marte has experienced a somewhat similar level of ups and downs that Torres has. In fact, Marte has a season on the back of his baseball card that likely outpaces anything that could reasonably be expected of Torres. In 2019 with the Diamondbacks, he slashed .329/.389/.592 with 32 homers, a 150 wRC+, and 6.2 fWAR. This is close to MVP-level stuff, though Marte has never really returned to this level. Like Cronenworth, Marte is older than Gleyber, but his career trajectory has been comparable to Torres’.

Andrés Giménez: Seven years, $106.5 million

If the first two examples were more similar in situation, except for their age, Giménez would be the opposite. Cleveland’s break-out star also signed before the beginning of this season, and primarily mans second base. But, Giménez is actually two years younger than Torres, debuted in 2020, and really only has one full season of big league ball under his belt.

Giménez broke out in a big way last season, with a 6-win 140 wRC+ season in his first time with a full-time role. The Guardians wanted to lock up his talent while they could, evidently, and inked him to a nine-figure deal. His offensive excellence was a surprise, more so than Gleyber Torres’ upon his arrival. This is reflective of their profiles as well, Torres projects as a better hitter than Giménez at full strength, while Cleveland’s second baseman is a much better defender.

Though the general circumstances Giménez signed his deal under (24 years old, service time, etc.) are less similar to Torres than Cronenworth or Marte, I think the dimensions of his extension are closer to the right ballpark for what we might expect for Torres.

Again, this is all speculation, as Torres and the Yankees aren’t even publicly engaged in extension talks. However, If the Yankees’ second baseman continues to produce like he has, and get further removed from his forgettable 2020-21 seasons, it could quickly become a part of the conversation. There will never be exact comparisons as to what to expect for Torres if anything ends up materializing, but the recently extended middle-infielders discussed here could be useful in setting baseline possibilities.

Gleyber Torres has been a huge contributor in this lineup so far, and will have increased weight to carry with the injury to Giancarlo Stanton. If he can continue to mash the ball like he has been, an extension could very much be worthwhile for the Yankees.