One way or another, the New York Yankees have to make room on their roster for Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe. Volpe has been going through a few more struggles this spring, while Volpe continues to dominate, nearly hitting for the cycle on Saturday afternoon against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The team’s No. 1 prospect has put management in a tough spot, especially since he was expected to start the season in Triple-A but has undoubtedly played his way onto the MLB roster. The infield log jam is certainly a challenging situation that will require some difficult decisions from management, which could include trading Gleyber Torres and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
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The Yankees may not have a choice but to trade Gleyber Torres:
Torres has the most value, objectively, meaning he’s the most likely to be moved, specifically with starting rotation issues bubbling to the surface. The Yankees are already down three starters, and Torres could quickly help replace one of those slots at 26 years old with another year of control under his belt. The value is obvious, and MLB considers him a top-10 second baseman, which is certainly encouraging for what the Yankees can get in return.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic believes that the Yankees don’t really have a choice but to move Torres. Coming off a bounce-back season in 2022, where he hit .257 with a .310 OBP, 24 homers, and 76 RBIs, it feels like the writing is on the wall, and it’s only a matter of time before the Yankees take advantage of his worth.
“As good a player as Gleyber is, I kind of think the Yankees need to do that and play both these kids up the middle,” Rosenthal said on Foul Territory. “It’s a risk, but you also have DJ [LeMahieu]…they need an injection of this kind of youthful energy.”
If the Bombers don’t end up moving Gleyber, the position battle ultimately shifts to shortstop, where Volpe has outplayed Peraza by a significant margin, despite the difference in experience. It is a risk to play two youngsters in the middle of the infield, but both have quality defensive attributes, and Volpe is clearly ready to take on MLB-level pitching.
“Even though it’s a risk to play two guys like that fairly regularly, they’re both highly thought of,” Rosenthal said. “You trade Torres for pitching, and that would kind of be the thing to. Those trades are tough to make, they’ve tried to trade Torres and haven’t been able to do it. But that is the obvious answer.”
There are a few different variables making things even more difficult for the Yankees, notably the resurgence of Josh Donaldson this spring and his new batting stance, all about cementing him at the third base position, and the constant position changing of Kiner-Falefa.
Moving IKF would be a good decision, saving $6 million on his salary and allowing DJ LeMahieu to continue serving as the team’s primary infield utilityman. That’s not even to mention the existence of Oswaldo Cabrera, who’s been lighting things up this spring and showcasing improved offensive metrics in the batter’s box.
One thing is for sure, at least WE don’t have to make these difficult decisions, but one way or another, the Yankees can’t justify keeping Volpe in the minor-league system after his performance this spring.