The Yankees need to extend former All-Star before it’s too late

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The New York Yankees have been mulling over the trade prospects for their former All-Star second baseman, Gleyber Torres, for the past two years. Despite the rumors and trade talk—especially a near-deal with the Miami Marlins last year—Torres remains in pinstripes and is making a compelling case for a contract extension.

Trade Talks: The Gleyber Saga Continues

Last trade deadline, Torres was the subject of extensive chatter as the Yankees engaged in talks with the Miami Marlins. Although he was a prime candidate to be moved, the Yankees opted to retain him. This summer, the rumor mill churned once more, labeling Torres as a potential trade asset. Yet, he’s still donning the Yankee uniform and has put up numbers that might just guarantee him an extension.

Breaking Down Gleyber’s Offensive Consistency

While some may cite Torres’ defensive metrics as justification for trading him, the underlying fact remains: he has been one of the Yankees’ most consistently productive offensive players. In 142 games this season, comprising 602 plate appearances, Torres boasts a batting average of .271, an OBP of .341, and a slugging rate of .461. Additionally, he’s hit 25 home runs, accrued 65 RBIs, stolen 13 bases, and logged a career-low 14.6% strikeout rate. His walk rate is 9.5%, and his wRC+ stands at 121. With a WAR of 2.9, he ranks as a net positive for the Yankees.

Comparing Offensive Milestones

Torres is on track to finish the current season with his highest home run tally since 2019. In that standout year, he blasted 38 homers, only to experience a subsequent offensive decline leading up to this season.

Defensive Metrics: Room for Improvement

When it comes to defense, Torres holds a .977 fielding percentage over 1115.2 innings this season. Although he’s committed 12 errors, he’s posted -5 defensive runs saved and -2 outs above average. Comparatively, last year, he had nine defensive runs saved. While his 2023 numbers indicate a slightly subpar defensive performance, there’s ample room for improvement.

The Looming Decision: To Extend or Not to Extend

Here’s the rub: the Yankees are acutely aware that Torres’ bat isn’t easily replaceable at this juncture. With only one year of arbitration left, a decision about his future looms large. They could gamble and let his 2024 contract run its course until he becomes a free agent in 2025. However, given their somewhat wavering commitment thus far, Torres might opt for greener pastures.

Gleyber in His Prime: A Keeper for the Yankees?

If Torres manages to uphold his current offensive stats and improves defensively, he has the potential to be one of MLB’s elite second basemen. At just 26, he’s smack in the middle of his prime years. The Yankees, keen on not aging their roster any further, should find the decision to keep one of their top young talents a no-brainer.

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