The Yankees nearly traded 2 infielders for top starting pitcher but missed out

mlb: new york yankees at houston astros, gleyber torres
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Despite whispers surrounding Gleyber Torres and potential trades, the New York Yankees are showing faith in the infielder. While his defensive performance in 2023 was just a shade under average, his offensive strides make a compelling argument for a long-term commitment, especially at the age of 26.

The Yankees’ Almost-Trade with Miami

Rewinding a bit, the Yankees were in talks with the Miami Marlins around the 2022 trade deadline. The Marlins’ interest was in unloading starting pitcher Pablo Lopez, who subsequently found a home with the Minnesota Twins. Lopez, at 27, pitched a commendable 194 innings this season for Minnesota, recording a 3.66 ERA. Moreover, his playoff performance has been stellar, boasting a 0.71 ERA over 12.2 innings.

According to Jimmy Hascup from NJ.com, the initial deal would’ve seen both Gleyber Torres and Oswald Peraza heading to Miami in return for Lopez. Lopez then, in a turn of events, was traded to the Twins and secured a four-year deal worth $73.4 million.

Comparing Values

So, the looming question is, in terms of value, did Lopez outshine the combined prowess of Torres and Peraza?

Torres‘ statistics for the season stand at .273 batting average, .347 OBP, along with 25 RBIs, a 14.6% strikeout rate, a 10% walk rate, and a 123 wRC+. In the WAR metric, Torres contributed 3.2, while Lopez clocked 4.5, painting Lopez in a slightly more favorable light.

Adding Peraza to the equation complicates the valuation. In a 52-game stint with the Yankees this season, the 23-year-old managed a .191 batting average and a .267 OBP. Still young and relatively inexperienced in the MLB, Peraza holds promise. The Yankees envision him as a prospective infield starter, potentially positioning him at third base, depending on their moves in the off-season.

Repercussions of the Deal That Never Happened

One could argue that if the Yankees had secured Lopez and subsequently extended his contract, they might have avoided the Carlos Rodon saga. Rodon, who inked a six-year deal worth $162 million, managed an unimpressive 6.85 ERA over 64.1 innings. The Yankees are now burdened with the expectation of Rodon’s improved performance in 2024. However, given his track record with injuries, the future seems uncertain for the left-handed veteran.

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