Yankees could be gearing up to trade home-grown infielder

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Just a few days ago, the New York Yankees executed a trade with the Minnesota Twins, sending Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela on their way. Urshela was best friends with homegrown infielder Gleyber Torres, whose position is now in flux after general manager Brian Cashman extended Anthony Rizzo on a two-year, $32 million deal.

Prior to Rizzo signing a new contract, DJ LeMahieu was the expected first baseman, with Torres manning the second base position. Now, Torres’s spot on the team is in question, especially since LeMahieu is a far better defender, posting a career .991 fielding percentage at second.

Torres, on the other hand, has a career .971 fielding percentage with 43 errors over 2,048 innings played. Some may argue that Torres should feature at second base while LeMahieu fills a utility role at multiple positions, most notably at third base, where Josh Donaldson played in just 92 games last season.

However, LeMahieu’s success rate at third is not altogether inspiring, featuring a measly .945 fielding percentage in 1,031 innings over a seven-season time frame.

Allowing DJ to play at his most comfortable position seems like the most logical move, which could make Torres expendable. Cashman hasn’t solved several positions of need, including outfield talent and starting pitching support.

Another club may view Torres as a valuable piece, especially with three years of team control left on his contract. Torres only has 3.1 years of service time, just hitting arbitration this off-season. His steamer projections have him hitting .269 with 22 homers and 81 RBIs over 146 games. He also features an 18.7% strikeout rate and 10.1% walk rate, suitable numbers for a team looking for a solid offensive weapon with upside.

The point to make is that the Yankees would be losing either a starting-level talent or depth piece in Torres by trading him away, so they would have another void to fill in the process. However, cashing in on his value now might be the best move after seeing a drop in slugging abilities the past two seasons.

Gleyber only hit nine homers last year over 127 games, featuring a 35.7% hard-hit rate and connecting with the barrel 7.8% of the time. During his best season in 2019, when he hit 38 homers, Torres recorded a 36.1% hard-hit rate and 9.4% barrel rate.

Given the Yankees’ insufficient off-season up to this point, Cashman must have another trick up his sleeve, and Torres could be included in his plan.