Yankees could still leverage starting infielder as trade piece

gleyber torres, yankees
Apr 28, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) between pitches during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees‘ offense has been languishing in recent weeks, despite scoring seven runs in a disappointing loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday afternoon. Before this defeat, the Bombers had scored a mere 22 runs in their last eight games, averaging 2.75 runs per game, which is insufficient for consistent victories in the MLB.

The batting lineup has faltered on several fronts, with starting second baseman Gleyber Torres proving to be one of the weakest links in the past two weeks. Gleyber began the season strongly, boasting a .286 batting average and a .435 OBP just two weeks in. However, his numbers have since declined, settling at .242 with a .338 OBP following Sunday’s loss. In May, he has recorded a .231 batting average, a .259 OBP, and a .605 OPS.

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The Yankees need Gleyber Torres to recover:

Inconsistency plagues Gleyber, and his confidence has visibly waned after his impressive start to the season. Nonetheless, with runners in scoring position, he has managed a .286 batting average and a .417 OBP, but his performance with empty bases leaves much to be desired. Under those circumstances, he has achieved a .214 batting average and a .276 OBP, indicating that he has been solid with RISP.

Despite maintaining a 110 wRC+ and accumulating 0.3 WAR this season, Torres’ performance falls short of the Yankees’ expectations following his exciting debut. He was considered a potential trade candidate earlier in the year and might still be if his inconsistencies persist. Torres signed a one-year, $10M deal to avoid arbitration, and with one year of team control remaining, he retains considerable value as a key starter.

Whether the Yankees see Torres as a long-term solution at second base or if Oswald Peraza is the designated successor, remains. Currently riding the bench, Peraza has not been utilized to his full potential, prompting general manager Brian Cashman to potentially leverage him as a trade asset. Cashman has suggested that trades would be made from a position of strength, implying that the infield might lose players to bolster other areas.

In addition to Gleyber’s declining offensive statistics, he has encountered some difficulties defensively. He currently has -2 defensive runs saved and a .981 fielding percentage over 247.1 innings. Torres’ strikeout rate is 12.2%, and his walk rate is 12.9%, both significantly better than his career averages. To regain his form, he must rebuild his confidence and demonstrate the consistency he displayed earlier in the season.

The 26-year-old infielder initially made a strong case for an extension, but with his performance deteriorating, Cashman may reevaluate this approach and consider him a potential trade asset instead.

Ultimately, the Bombers require reinforcement in two critical areas: left field and a starting rotation position. In due course, Luis Severino and Carlos Rodon will return, but it is uncertain which versions of these players will emerge. Severino is poised to commence a rehabilitation assignment, while Rodon is far from returning after being diagnosed with a chronic back issue.

Rodon’s 6-year, $162 million deal reflects poorly on Cashman, who evidently overpaid for yet another injury-prone athlete. Conversely, left field has resembled a game of Russian Roulette. Oswaldo Cabrera, Aaron Hicks, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa have all experienced significant struggles offensively, suggesting that an infielder like Gleyber could be utilized in a trade for a more effective offensive player.