The New York Yankees currently have sort of a record-breaking outfield crowd. Director Aaron Boone will have to sift through several options to determine what the starting unit will look like in 2023, since general manager Brian Cashman has yet to offload some of them. Josh Donaldson and his $21 million salary seem like the best candidate for the trade, even if the Yankees are able to keep a portion of his salary.
However, there is another starting level player that can be transferred, and that is Gleyber Torres. At 26 years old, Torres is coming off a recall after two years of questionable play. He hit . 257 with a 31% on-base rate, including 24 homers and 76 RBI. He walked out at 22.6% and walked at 6.8%, scoring his highest WRC+ at 115 since 2019.
Defensively, he took a big step forward and played second base. 985 runs percentage over 1,082.2 innings pitched, including only seven errors with 47 double runs. He enjoyed nine runs saved above average, the highest mark of his career by a large margin.
As the land market dwindled after a major free agency class, Torres’ value increased exponentially, making him a prime business target.
The Yankees are patiently waiting for Anthony Volpe to step up and join this major league roster this coming season, which could lead to a throw off of Torres at second base, leaving him in limbo.
Three decisions the Yankees could make with Glaber Torres:
1.) Trade Gleyber now
The Yankees look set to hit very high for Volpe to join their roster in 2023. With Oswald Peraza expected to take over at shortstop full-time, Volpe will likely slip in second base alongside him, knocking Torres out of his natural position.
In the end, it all depends on the timing. If Cashman believes Volpe will be ready for the first few weeks of the season, moving Torres now, when his value is at its highest, might be the most effective move. However, the Yankees are waiting to see how healthy DJ LeMahieu is to start 2023, so keeping Gleyber as a safety cover isn’t a bad idea.
However, if the team wants to take advantage of Gleyber now, they can target the bullpen support or look for a left field solution with a trade. For now, though, the odds are in favor of Torres staying at least until next summer’s trade deadline.
2.) Trade Gleyber at Deadline next summer
The most likely scenario is that Volpe requires a few months in Triple-A with Scranton before making the jump. Volpe has improved over time on a fast sample size, as shown with Somerset last year and his last few matches with Scranton. Giving him a few weeks to get his sea legs and then transferring him to Major League Baseball might be the best move for his development and progression.
Keeping Torres until nearly the deadline will give the Yankees plenty of assurance, especially if Volpe is struggling after being called up. Once he’s settled in and feeling confident, Torres is an expendable, and the Yankees can capitalize on his value in the game, given the expected injuries.
3.) Keep Gleyber honest
One reasonable argument is that the Yankees should simply keep Torres next season. They still control it until 2025 at such a ripe old age; Coming off a strong 2022 season, he’s a net positive.
Given that Donaldson has no future with the team, who’s to say the Yankees don’t move Peraza to third base, Volpe to shortstop, and keep Gleiber at second base, using DJ LeMahieu in his usual utility role? This would keep DJ relatively healthy by managing his innings and allow the Yankees to capitalize on the best young prospects in key positions.
This strategy may be their favorite, but it depends entirely on how they plan to use Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa next season.