The Yankees need to extend former All-Star infielder

mlb: arizona diamondbacks at new york yankees, gleyber torres, aaron judge
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

While critics are quick to highlight the challenges the New York Yankees have faced this season, one can’t ignore the silver lining in Gleyber Torres. Though many point fingers at Torres for his occasional defensive lapses and baserunning errors, his strengths vastly overshadow these minor hitches. Dubbed a “former All-Star,” there’s a compelling argument that Torres is en route to reclaiming All-Star prominence in the ensuing seasons.

Amidst discussions about which Yankee players to retain or let go, a 26-year-old Torres, flourishing in his prime and showcasing a diminishing strikeout rate, emerges as a no-brainer. The discourse around trading Torres or letting him explore free agency post-2024 deserves scrutiny, particularly when you delve into why he stands out as one of the Yankees’ most influential players this season.

Torres – A Perfect Fit for The Yankees’ Blueprint

The Yankees’ roadmap emphasizes youth, and Torres aligns seamlessly. Currently, at 26, Torres boasts a batting average of .271, OBP of .343, and a slugging rate of .457. His tally for the season includes 25 home runs, 66 RBIs, 13 steals, and a commendable 122 wRC+. Torres has outdone himself by registering the lowest strikeout rate of his career at 14.7%, reflecting an impressive 8% dip from 2022. Furthermore, his walk rate, standing at a remarkable 9.8%, is the zenith in his career for a sample spanning over 50 games.

On the defensive spectrum, while there’s chatter about his inconsistencies, numbers provide perspective. After clocking 1194.2 innings at second base this season, his record displays -4 defensive runs saved and -3 outs above average. Though slightly below par, it’s essential to recall his superior performance the previous year, where he added nine defensive runs saved, marking him among the premier defensive second basemen. Thus, we’re well aware that superior defense lies within Torres; consistency remains the key.

One can’t neglect the fact that the Yankees’ defeats weren’t predominantly due to defensive shortcomings; the offense bore the brunt of criticism. Letting go of an offensive stalwart like Torres would be a strategic blunder.

Torres Shines When It Matters Most

Considering the Yankees’ known challenges with runners in scoring positions, Torres emerges as a beacon of hope. When assessed in tandem with other team members, Torres, alongside Aaron Judge, stands out for his performance with runners on base. Across 106 at-bats, he’s recorded a .274 batting average, .346 OBP, .434 slugging rate, and a .780 OPS. With four home runs, 37 RBIs, and a mere 17 strikeouts, Torres embodies reliability in clutch moments.

Zooming into September, Torres’ figures reveal a batting average of .273, an OBP of .377, and an OPS of .816, contributing 18 hits, two home runs, and nine RBIs. These stats follow an even brighter August, where he averaged .327 and flaunted an OBP of .410.

An Easy Decision for the Yankees’ Front Office?

It’s confounding how some can champion the idea of trading or sidelining Torres, especially when he’s undeniably one of the Yankees’ prime offensive assets. Holding onto a player who resonates with New York’s ethos and confronts criticism head-on should be a straightforward choice for the Yankees’ management.

Given Torres’ remarkable defensive contributions in 2022, his prowess is evident. There’s optimism that a revitalized team ambiance could propel Torres to greater heights. As the Yankees navigate the intricacies of arbitration in the upcoming year, it would be astute to secure Torres before he ventures into the free market. If ever there arises a need for a trade, Torres’ sustained value ensures his contract remains a tradable asset.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: