Although the Yankees’ experiment of developing Gleyber Torres into an everyday shortstop failed miserably last season, he still has a very bright future ahead of him.
After New York finally made the logical choice of moving Torres back to second base, his bat began to come around. In the final 19 games of the regular season, Torres hit .300 with six RBIs and looked like the promising young slugger, who made two All-Star appearances and hit 62 home runs as a second baseman for the Yankees from 2018-19.
While the Yankees could receive calls from other teams around the league regarding Torres’ availability this offseason, they should not make the mistake of giving up on him. Especially since he is under cheap team control until after the 2024 season.
In fact, multiple scouts recently advocated for the Yankees to hang onto Torres in a discussion with Anthony McCarron of SNY.
Scout No. 1: “He’s too talented and too young not to rebound. I think he will.”
Scout No. 2: “I think he was thinking about those errors at shortstop. Then he was hurt, and I think it all contributed to it. I think he was reading the newspapers. You start trying to hit three home runs in one at-bat, try to do too much. ... Torres’ best position is second base. You can see it -- he looks more comfortable there. His offense won’t rebound at shortstop.”
This theory provided by the second scout seemingly correlates with Torres’ underwhelming campaign. Especially since Torres showed signs of life down the stretch of the regular season once the Yankees decided to move him away from shortstop.
Torres logged a total of 915.2 innings at short last season and posted an abysmal -10 defensive runs saved and a -2.6 UZR. He also made an atrocious total of 18 errors at this spot.
And his defensive woes translated to the other side of his game as well. Overall, Torres endured the worst offensive season of his career, slashing .259/.331./.366 with a .697 OPS, nine home runs and 51 RBIs.
Regardless, the soon-to-be 25-year-old still has potential and chances are he will be able to bounce back into being a force in the Yankees’ lineup once again, as long as he remains at second base.
The Yankees re-signed DJ LeMahieu to a six-year, $90 million deal in free agency last offseason and stuck him at second, with Torres at short and Gio Urshela at third base.
But after Torres faltered, LeMahieu moved to third and Urshela shifted over to short. While Urshela is open to sticking at this position in 2022, the Yankees will also have an opportunity to sign one of the pending free agent superstar shortstops to a massive deal this winter.
Unless they bring back trade deadline acquisition Anthony Rizzo to play first base, the Yankees could possibly move LeMahieu there next year and sign a shortstop, which leaves the door open for Torres to play second.
This seems like the most logical route for Brian Cashman and the Yankees to go, given the struggles they saw from playing multiple infielders out of position last year.
Whatever avenue they wind up pursuing, Torres should still be in the Yankees’ future plans because he is too valuable of an asset to kick to the curb after one down season.