The New York Yankees have a potentially problematic situation at shortstop, as they continue to roll with Gleyber Torres at the position despite his deficiencies in 2020. This past season, Torres made the full-time jump to shortstop, and he struggled considerably on routine plays, which resulted in a .933 fielding percentage.
To put that into perspective, the league average fielding percentage at the position is .973, which tells us everything we need to know about his defensive abilities. Even general manager Brian Cashman indicated that Torres was out of shape and is undeniably a better player at second base. With that being said, the Yankees have no intention of moving him back to his old position, especially after retaining DJ LeMahieu for six more years.
â€œHeâ€™s more than capable of playing short, but I acknowledge he is a better second baseman than a shortstop.â€
It does create an interesting narrative, though, as Torres enters his fourth season in the MLB and is likely his last opportunity to prove he can hold down the SS position. If he fails, the Yankees will enter a market flush with talent at the spot in 2021. Players like Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, and more will all be available for the taking.
With the expectation that the MLB will rebound nicely after a tumultuous 2020 season influenced by COVID-19, the Yankees will have the luxury of spending a bit more money. In addition, they will also have a few contracts coming off the books, which will allow a bit more financial freedom.
The unfortunate truth surrounding Torres is that he isnâ€™t a good shortstop defensively, and having a down season offensively only compounded the negatives. Despite hitting .243 over 160 plate appearances, Gleyber is considered one of the best offensive weapons on the team, and at 24 years old, he has the potential to be a staple in the lineup for years to come. However, the Yankees need to find him a spot in the infield, which could mean they move LeMahieu to first base in the future, which might force a Luke Voit trade.
The 2021 season is really Torres’s last opportunity to show he can do at SS, but signing LeMahieu on such a long-term deal is an indicator of what the Yankees have plans for his future. Voit, who is extremely valuable at the moment, given his slugging abilities, could only increase his value as a potential trade option in the future. The plan that Cashman has put in place is quite interesting, as it could result in one of the three players changing positions and either Voit or Torres being traded.