As the Yankees navigate this off-season, they face a crucial decision regarding starting second baseman Gleyber Torres. After a strong 2023 season, Torres is approaching the final year of arbitration, with his value estimated in the $15 million range for the upcoming season—a figure reflective of his performance.
Torres’ 2023 Performance
Torres’ contribution to the Yankees’ offense was significant, especially in light of Aaron Judge’s absence. In 2023, he played 158 games and produced a batting average of .273, an OBP of .347, and a slugging rate of .453. His 25 home runs, 68 RBIs, and a reduced strikeout rate of 14.6%, alongside a 10% walk rate, contributed to an impressive wRC+ of 123.
Despite his offensive prowess, Torres faced defensive challenges, ending the season with -4 defensive runs saved and -3 outs above average. The Yankees have contemplated trading Torres in the past to boost their starting pitching, and last season, they discussed a potential trade involving outfielder Alex Verdugo, which ultimately did not materialize.
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Verdugo’s Profile and Trade Possibilities
Alex Verdugo, the Red Sox outfielder who was previously a trade consideration for the Yankees, has had a mix of performances. In 2023, he was a below-average hitter with a .264 average and a wRC+ of 98. Despite his Gold Glove quality in the field, his offensive output hasn’t matched the Yankees’ needs.
Yankees’ Potential Trade Pitfalls
Recent rumors suggest the Yankees and Red Sox might revisit a trade discussion involving Torres and Verdugo. However, such a trade could be detrimental to the Yankees, as exchanging one of their top hitters for an outfielder who hasn’t consistently demonstrated star quality would not align with their goals.
“According to major league sources, the Red Sox identified Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres as a trade target last season – with Verdugo being of interest to New York. It appears the teams might very well be looping back on that conversation this offseason.”Via Audacy
Instead of trading Torres, the Yankees could consider signing a player like Kevin Kiermaier on a short-term deal and pursue other outfield options, such as Brendan Donovan from the Cardinals, to enhance their batting order.
As the Yankees aim to build a more robust roster, the hope is that GM Brian Cashman will recognize the risks of a Torres-Verdugo trade and opt for moves that add to the team’s strength without compromising their existing talent base.