The New York Yankees are gearing up for substantial changes in the infield this upcoming season. The third base position is still up for grabs, despite DJ LeMahieu having the advantage, shortstop is preparing for a big position battle, and even second base could be in flux at some point during the campaign.
However, many have questioned whether or not the Yankees will end up trading Gleyber Torres. After settling on a $9.95 million deal to avoid arbitration, the team certainly has included him in their plans.
Considering the MLB ranked him as a top-10 second baseman, and he’s coming off a solid 2022 campaign, Torres has plenty of value to offer. He hit .257 with a .310 OBP this past season, including 24 homers, 76 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases. He enjoyed a 115 wRC+ and 2.7 WAR, but his projections for the 2023 season are even more impressive. He’s expected to hit .262 with a .327 OBP, 23 homers, and 73 RBIs with a 120 wRC+ and 3.4 WAR, according to Steamer.
Despite exciting expectations, Torres’s time with the Yankees seems to be ending unless they end up offloading Oswald Peraza or trading Volpe, which seems extremely unlikely at this point.
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Why the Yankees may end up replacing Gleyber Torres with Anthony Volpe:
With LeMahieu leading the charge on the hot corner, considering Josh Donaldson‘s offensive liabilities last season and one year remaining on his deal, Volpe may only have one spot to take once he joins the top team.
Management has already given him the green light to compete at shortstop, but if Peraza looks sharp during spring training and shows good offensive production, there will be no reason to move him from the spot.
Volpe enjoyed 22 games with Scranton in AAA last year, hitting .236 with a .313 OBP, including three homers and five RBIs. Traditionally, it has taken Volpe a few weeks to adjust to different levels of competition, so most anticipate he will begin his 2023 season with Scranton. Once he assimilates properly and justifies a promotion, the Yankees will have no problem giving him an opportunity, it’s just a matter of where he will play.
Assuming Peraza is performing well and LeMahieu has locked down the third base position with either Isiah Kiner-Falefa or Donaldson in a reserve role, second base may be the only spot for Volpe to feature. Gleyber still has value, with the team having control over him until the 2025 off-season when he hits free agency.
Considering Cashman already floated the idea of trading Torres this past summer at the deadline, who’s to say he won’t be included in trade talks again this upcoming year? Even if Volpe takes over at shortstop in place of Peraza, they could push Oswald to second base, where he can offer elite defense and continue developing his bat.
All signs point toward Volpe being the end of Torres’s tenure with the Yankees, especially if injuries arise and they want to utilize his value to reinforce another position. I only see Torres remaining with the team long-term if the Yankees suffer injury issues in the infield and simply can’t afford to lose him.