It wasn’t long ago that Gleyber Torres seemed the last player the Yankees would ever trade away.
Think back to when he first arrived from the Chicago Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade in 2016. The then-19-year-old Torres was all but certain to be one of baseball’s next great hitters. His soft hands fueled elite contact hitting and there was power potential too.
The contact made its grand entrance in 2018 en route to Torres finishing third in AL Rookie of the Year voting. The power kicked in the door to the 2019 season with an almost uncharacteristic 38 home runs and 90 RBI. It seemed the Yankees had a semi-homegrown regular MVP candidate at the cost of practically nothing.
Then, the grim juiced balls reality revealed itself along with severe holes in Torres’ game. He regressed badly in 2020 and ’21, and not even a rebound 2022 campaign kept his name out of trade rumors. The Post’s Jon Heyman reported Torres was almost traded to the Marlins for pitcher Pablo Lopez last summer.
Biggest name hear available in trade so far is Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez. Fish need hitters! Came close to dealing him to Yankees at deadline in a Gleyber Torres deal.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 8, 2022
Looking back, this would have been a great trade for the Yankees. Lopez is just 26 and one of the best young pitchers in baseball, plus has two years of control left. In turn, Miami would have received the 25-year-old Torres and his two remaining arbitration years.
It still doesn’t take an expert to see that it’s still time for the Yankees to move on from Torres, regardless of who they get back. The Yankees have a crowded middle infield and Torres’ flaws make him the odd man out.
Let’s eliminate Torres’ shortened and injury-riddled 2020 and focus entirely on his 2021 season. Looking at Fangraphs, he most notably saw his soft contact rate jump almost 3.5 points to 16.3%. His line drive rate (LD%), meanwhile, increased almost a full four points to 22.3%. Nobody was surprised when Torres later admitted he was trying too hard to hit home runs.
Torres’ old habits still came back in his redemption season. He hit .180 in August when suddenly thrust into the heart of the order and began pulling the ball off again. Even with his strong finish, this is the prime time for the Yankees to move him. He’ll command at or about $10 million in arbitration and Oswaldo Cabrera’s emergence and versatility make Torres, dare I say it, obsolete in the Bronx.
It was a great ride while it lasted because for all his flaws, Torres is a popular Yankee. When he’s on his game, he’s a clutch hitter and slick-fielding second baseman. Now, the Yankees must thank Torres for the memories and sell high when they can.