The Yankees must make a decision on Gleyber Torres, but they need to focus on baseball and not the financials.
For reasons they’ve earned, this column is almost always positive when it comes to how the New York Yankees ownership and front office handle themselves. Not so, though, when it comes to a very distressing situation with their prized rookie.
Over the offseason, it’s been fun to juggle the openings in the Yankees infield at both second and third base. In theory, both Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres will arrive in Tampa in three weeks or so, ready to battle for at least one, and possibly both positions.
The situation is somewhat tenuous with the presence of Ronald Torreyes, the Yankees super-sub who came only a few points shy of batting .300 for the club last year. Additionally, we can assume Brian Cashman is still working the phones with the intention of shedding salary among the remaining veterans, which could allow for the team stepping up efforts to sign either Todd Frazier or Mike Moustakas.
RELATED: From a while ago on Gleyber Torres
But for now, the main event is in the center ring with Andujar vs. Torres. Except that it’s not going to be a fair fight and one of these players is going to arrive in Tampa ready to do battle, but with one hand tied behind his back.
You might immediately think, well, that has only to do with the surgery Torres underwent last season, along with the possibility he may not be ready. Conveniently, that is precisely the posture Brian Cashman took when he spoke to Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News:
“It’s easier to kind of expect that he’ll need more time because he didn’t have a full season in Triple-A and he hasn’t played since June 17,” Cashman said. “But I think when you have a lot of ability, you have a chance to change that storyline rather quickly.
“But he hasn’t played in a while, so it wouldn’t be surprising if there’s some rust that needs to be knocked off. Still, he’s talented, so we’ll see.”
Except, it’s likely there won’t be anything to “see,” even though 30 Spring Training games should be more than enough to determine if Torres is ready or not.
What the Yankees will never say, though, is that Torres will be demoted at the end of Spring Training with more mumbo-jumbo as seen above, kept on the 40-man roster, and magically called up fit and cured of all ailments on April 15.
If Torres falls flat on in face in Spring Training, commits 11 errors and bats .220, then this all goes away. But other than that, the Yankees will be doing nothing more than pulling a slick move to keep control of Torres for a year beyond the usual six years, including arbitration years, before a player becomes a free agent.
While it’s a testament to the Yankees apparent belief Torres is the type of talent who will be commanding a boatload of money by then, the argument that arises is this: Do the Yankees, the class organization of baseball, wish to treat a prized commodity like Torres in this manner?
It reminds of last year’s dance with Dellin Betances, over what amounted to a million dollars, when both sides drew a line in the sand at the arbitration table, and nobody won.
Why go there again with a plan to “hold back” Torres until he becomes convenient from a monetary sense while being so patently transparent to fans?
“Developing” a player is one thing, but this will be another season when cries from the bleachers have called, “Let’s see Gleyber Torres.” But there comes a time when you’ve got to see what you’ve got. Or not. And despite all the hype, Torres has yet to prove himself wearing the pinstripes at Yankee Stadium.
It’s tough, these days, to go against anything Cashman thinks or does. But as the representative of the franchise, and in spite of noticeable potential financial gain, it would seem the Yankees should punt on this one.
Let Torres, Andujar, and Torreyes all play throughout March. And when all is said and done, make a baseball decision on what’s best for the Yankees.