Whether it be a bad omen or the baseball gods demanding reparations for the Yankees‘ past success, developing home-grown talent has been challenging to come by over the past few seasons. While the team has plenty of exciting young prospects climbing the system, they’ve failed miserably to turn their promising players into legitimate stars, given they recently traded Gary Sanchez away to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for stop-gap solutions.
General manager Brian Cashman may be approaching a time where trading Gleyber Torres is a possibility, given he’s fallen off tremendously since his stellar rookie and sophomore seasons.
Torres hit .271 back in 2018 with 24 homers, backing it up with a .278 average and 38 homers in 2019 — All-Star caliber numbers. However, ever since the Covid-abbreviated 2020 season, Torres has been a shell of his former self. He clearly lacks confidence at the plate, and he’s not hitting the ball with the same gusto he once possessed. His barrel rate has dropped a whole percent, if not more, compared to his first two seasons (9.2% –> 7.8% in 2021).
That didn’t stop the Yankees’ hitting coach from making a claim that Torres was back to his old self this spring.
“I think he’s back to where he was a few years ago, when he was using the whole field,” hitting coach Dillon Lawson said several weeks ago. “He’s done fine the past couple years going to right-center, but the way he’s going to right-center right now is with authority. And it’s not in a way that limits him to the pull side. That’s stuff from ’18 and ’19.”
So far this year, Torres is hitting .161 with one homer. He’s currently on a four-game hitless streak, leaving little to no offensive impression on a team that just lost two out of three games against the Baltimore Orioles.
At some point, the Yankees need to make a decision on Gleyber’s future. He’s showed some prowess defensively at 2nd base, but that isn’t nearly enough to retain his job as a starter, given DJ LeMahieu is a far better defender and could replace his value in seconds.
There’s a debate to be had that Torres could lose his starting job early in the season if he continues to falter at this rate. He currently hosts a 25% strikeout rate, his highest since 2018. While the season is young, there’s a big sample size suggesting that Torres may be overrated, and trading him could be the best course of action, especially if Cashman finds himself in need of pitching support later on in the season.