The Yankees desperately need their former All-Star infielder to carry his weight

MLB: New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins, gleyber torres
Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have called up star prospect Ben Rice to fill the void left by Anthony Rizzo, who suffered an arm fracture over the weekend and will be sidelined for the next 4–6 weeks. This move not only addresses an immediate need but also presents an opportunity for Rice, who has the potential to become a long-term solution at first base.

Yankees’ Infield Adjustments Amid Rizzo’s Injury

Amid the infield adjustments, all eyes are on Gleyber Torres, who is in a contract year and facing pressure to perform. The 27-year-old infielder has had a disappointing start to the season, with a batting average of just .222 and an on-base percentage of .298 over 74 games. His slugging percentage stands at .333, with six home runs and 25 RBIs. These figures are particularly concerning given that his expected batting average and slugging are also low, ranking in the 9th percentile for expected batting average (.214) and expected slugging (.346).

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays, gleyber torres
Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Torres’s performance with runners in scoring position has not matched last year’s when he hit .270 in such situations. This year, his average in these critical moments is .222, with a .302 OBP, signaling a possible lack of confidence or a regression in form. This underwhelming performance has cast doubt on whether the Yankees should offer him a long-term extension, with many suggesting that any new deal should be extremely favorable to the team.

The contrast between Torres and players like Juan Soto, who are preparing for significant contract extensions, is stark. Torres might find himself looking for the highest bidder or settling for a one-year deal in hopes of rebounding next season.

With the Yankees facing challenges across the infield and the trade deadline approaching, they cannot afford to replace every struggling player. Torres, in particular, needs to step up and demonstrate that he can be a valuable contributor to the lineup. His recent at-bats, including a critical strikeout with the bases loaded against Boston, highlight his struggles in high-pressure situations.

Defensively, Torres is also having a difficult year, with a career-low .964 fielding percentage and on pace for over 20 errors, which would set a new personal record for mistakes at second base. As the All-Star break approaches, it could provide a much-needed respite for Torres to reset and hopefully return with renewed focus for the latter half of the season.

The Yankees’ infield dynamics are under scrutiny as they navigate through these challenges, with both veteran players and newcomers like Ben Rice playing pivotal roles in their strategy moving forward.

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