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The Yankees are preparing to manipulate Gleyber Torres’ service time

The Yankees only need to send Gleyber Torres down for 12 days to get an extra year from him

MLB: New York Yankees-Media Day Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are stacked with young talent that is either already making an impact at the major league level or is right on the verge of getting a shot. Ranking as the no. 2 prospect in all of baseball, Gleyber Torres is one of those players. When teams have really good young players they want to keep around for longer, they often mess around with their service time in order to get an extra year. The Yankees are likely going to try this in 2018, and Brian Cashman dropped his first hint.

On Thursday, Dan Martin published an article at the New York Post discussing the team’s apparent decision to move ahead with Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar at second and third, respectively. That’s all nice talk, but what’s easy to miss was Cashman’s comments about Gleyber’s health. “We might be careful with him this spring regardless because of the injury,” he says.

OK so that just sounds like they are being careful with him, considering the fact that he is coming off Tommy John surgery and is precious cargo. However, he also goes on to say “Now that he’s fully healthy, we want to see more of what he can do.” So right there he’s contradicting himself about the status of Gleyber Torres, sowing the seed for the eventual reveal that he needs more time in the minors.

Again, Tommy John is no joke, so the due diligence sounds right, but consider what happened in this particular case. Torres is a position player, so the recovery time is a lot different. Those types of players need just about six months to recover, instead of the usual 12 for pitchers. It’s also important to note that he had the surgery in June, meaning it will be eight months in February, so he would have had more than enough time to recover.

On top of that, the injury was to his non-throwing arm, so it’s basically been the best case scenario in this instance. It has allowed him to continue working out in Tampa, where the Yankees have kept him all winter “to control how much he did,” as Cashman says. When spring training starts, Gleyber should very much be in playing shape.

The Yankees have clearly been keeping a watchful eye on their prized boy. What this means is he should be ready to go for spring training, as expected. The idea of being careful with him has only been floated as a way to artificially suppress his playing time so that the team can say he’s behind and need more time in spring training.

Just how much more time? About 12 days ought to do it. That’s how many days the Yankees will need to keep Gleyber Torres in the minors before they can gain an additional year out of him. A baseball season is played over 183 days, but a player only needs 172 days in the majors to reach a full season, as far as service time goes. A player needs to accrue six years of service time to qualify for free agency, so an additional 12 days in the minors this season will allow the Yankees to keep him another year.

It’s a practice that is often employed to keep players like this for longer, and while it might sound skeevy, it’s not exactly against the rules. Sure, this could be a harmless quote by Brian Cashman about a player they don’t want to break, but this is going to become a topic in the spring. Teams do this all the time, so don’t be surprised if this is the first hint of Gleyber Torres heading down to the minors, even if he shows he doesn’t need to.