Yankees Star Not Open To Extension

One of New York's homegrown stars hasn't heard anything regarding a contract extension - and he's not interested in one at the moment.
Apr 10, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA;  New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) at Yankee
Apr 10, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) at Yankee / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Yankees have a huge decision to make during the offseason, as one of their stars is set to hit free agency.

No, it's not Juan Soto, who has been as advertised for the Yankees in the early going and has quickly embraced his new teammates and fans. He is set to hit free agency, but he's not the subject here.

There is another key player on the roster playing in the last year of his contract: Gleyber Torres. Acquired in 2016 from the Chicago Cubs organization for Aroldis Chapman, Torres has developed into a fan-favorite with tantalizing upside, although he's had trouble with consistency. The All-Star second baseman is part of the 2024-25 free agent class, and it looks like the Yankees won't extend him before he starts exploring his options.

According to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, Torres was never approached by the front office regarding a contract extension - and he's unwilling to start those conversions with the season officially underway.

“Basically, now I’m just focusing on the season,” Torres said. “I’m just trying to get a great season with good numbers, stay healthy all season long, and let’s see what happens at the end of the year.”

While that is a valid reason, it is very possible that Torres is feeling the pressure of his looming free agency, even if he told Kirschner otherwise. For example, Torres could be playing through an injury just to show the league that he's consistently available, as he was hit squarely on the thumb by a pitch during the opening series against the Houston Astros.

Regardless of the reason, whether it's mind games or an undisclosed injury, it has been a brutal 24 games for Torres to begin the year. In 101 at-bats, he's hitting .186/.290/.209 with just two RBI, only two extra-base hits (both doubles), and a meager wRC+ of 58. He's also struggled in the field, with -2 defensive runs saved and three errors, one of which cost the Yankees a game against the Cleveland Guardians. Even though it's been less than a month, his -0.1 fWAR feels very generous. The worst part, however, is his mysterious lack of power; although he hit 25 home runs last season, he hasn't gone yard since September 7, 2023.

With this awful start to the year, it's hardly surprising that the 27-year-old second baseman isn't anywhere close to a possible extension with the Bronx Bombers. If anything, it further hurts his case for one, as outside of 2019, Torres has been a very streaky hitter with equally streaky defense.

Nonetheless, both Torres and the Yankees believe he's close to breaking out of this extended slump.

“I feel good,” Torres said to The Athletic. “I think sometimes it’s not going the right way. I have hit a couple of really good balls and, unfortunately, everything is out. I’ve taken a couple of walks already. Some at-bats, I’m seeing six or seven pitches. Maybe I don’t get the right results, but I’m feeling good. I’m seeing the ball a bit better. I hope I’ll get more consistency soon.”

“Honestly, I don’t feel like he’s in a bad place,” hitting coach James Rowson said. “He’s close to getting where he needs to be. It’s just a matter of getting a few more opportunities to get that one to fall and that one to land for you with a good swing."

Even in this funk, Torres has been grinding out his at-bats. He sees a lot of pitches (for example, six or seven, like he said in the previous quote) and hasn't chased outside of the strike zone too often. His approach isn't the problem, which indicates his issues are swing-related; it could be timing, the path of the swing, or both.

Regardless, the Yankees know what Torres is capable of when he gets going, but cold streaks like this may dissuade them from paying their homegrown second baseman what he wants. While the thoughts of a contract may not be responsible for the slump, it's impossible to deny that the circumstances have magnified Torres's struggles. If the Yankees are going to throw the bag at Torres, it definitely isn't coming until the end of the year.

Fortunately, the season is still young and the Yankees have gotten off to a strong start even with their consistency issues. If Torres can break out and play at the level he's accustomed to, perhaps he can solidify his case to remain in pinstripes.


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Joe Najarian

JOE NAJARIAN

Joe Najarian is a Rutgers University graduate from the Class of 2022. After an eight-month stint with Jersey Sporting News (JSN), covering Rutgers Football, Rutgers Basketball, and Rutgers Baseball, Najarian became a contributing writer on Inside the Pinstripes and Inside the Mets. He additionally writes on Giants Country, FanNation’s site for the New York Giants. Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeNajarian