Yankees’ star infielder set for a big pay increase

mlb: arizona diamondbacks at new york yankees, gleyber torres
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been considerable debate around New York Yankees‘ second baseman, Gleyber Torres, lately. While some argue he should be traded, the Yankees evidently see him as a key piece for their future infield.

Prioritizing youth and leveraging prime-time players are essential tactics for success. Given the Yankees’ offensive struggles in the 2023 season, offloading one of their prime hitters, like Torres, seems counterintuitive.

To put it plainly, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Torres has proven his worth, boasting a commendable .273 batting average, .347 OBP, 25 homers, and 68 RBIs in the recent season. His home run count was the highest since 2019, and his strikeout rate touched a career-low at 14.6%. His wRC+ of 123 is nearly at its peak, with just a two-point difference from his sophomore season’s high.

Durability and Yankees’ Economic Aspects

Torres showcased his reliability by playing in 158 games this season, with a total of 672 plate appearances. Having earned $10 million through arbitration, he’s approaching the end of his arbitration period and will be a free agent in 2025.

However, Gleyber’s performance is set to pay off. Projections suggest his salary for the 2024 season could soar to $15.3 million, a justified figure for someone who contributed 3.2 WAR this year.

Defense and the Road Ahead

On the defensive front, Torres had some shaky moments. Over 1255.2 innings, he posted a .975 fielding percentage with -4 defensive runs saved and -3 outs above average. However, rewind to 2022, and you’ll find Torres clocking nine defensive runs saved, highlighting his defensive prowess. Should he rectify those inconsistencies and uphold his offensive metrics, he’s undoubtedly en route to being among the top three second basemen in the league.

So, what’s next for the Yankees and Torres? Given his age and potential, locking in a five-year contract seems like a smart move. This would cover Torres’ prime and ensure the Yankees retain one of their few consistent offensive assets.

The team can then focus on bolstering its pitching arsenal during free agency. A trade involving Torres, especially for an outfielder, would be ill-advised, especially considering the underwhelming performance of 23-year-old infielder Oswald Peraza.

Unless Peraza suddenly displays a surge in potential, the notion of trading Torres remains a dubious proposition at best.

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