The Yankees made a couple of roster moves yesterday. It happens almost every day in baseball. This guy is in, and that guy moves out. It’s the business of baseball…
Ronald Torreyes is not a household name in Yankees history. He holds not a single record stored in the tomes that are mindful of such things. Throughout his four-year career, Torreyes has earned $1,513,117 (Spotrac), a paltry sum when you consider the average one-year salary in the major leagues in 2018 was $4.52 million (USA Today).
Torreyes was released yesterday by the Yankees to make room on their 40-man roster for Parker Bridwell, a right-handed reliever who will challenge for a spot in the Yankees bullpen. Previously, the Yankees also signed infielders Gio Urshela and Hanser Alberto (I know – who?), both of whom will compete for a reserve player spot, replacing Torreyes in that role.
A lifetime .281 hitter, Torreyes had his best year with the Yankees in 2017 when he appeared in 108 games, hitting .292 overall. However, Yankees fans will remember him as the player who stepped into the shortstop position while Didi Gregorius rehabbed an injury suffered in the World Baseball Classic that Spring.
Following the return of Gregorius, manager Joe Girardi continued to play Torreyes at second, third, and shortstop freely and often.
The story of Ronald Torreyes, known to his teammates as “Toes,” probably because he always appeared to be standing on his 5 ft 8 in toes when high-fiving giants like Aaron Judge or CC Sabathia, goes well beyond the numbers.
Always looking misplaced on a baseball diamond, the little guy was a favorite of Yankees fans. Much like the David vs. Goliath battle that goes on in New York City every day, Ronald Torreyes took on all comers when he stepped in to hit. But more significant, Torreyes always seemed to be smack in the middle of a Yankees win.
A sacrifice bunt, a sparkling play in the infield, a sure-handed feed to his counterpart to initiate a double play, or occasionally a line drive into the gap to drive in two to nail a win for his team, Torreyes was respected by his teammates as a player’s player.
Although I always thought the Yankees were a better team with Torreyes on it, it’s senseless to question the track record of Brian Cashman, who is charged with making these kinds of hard decisions.
I also believe, and this is just a hunch, that something happened last year between the Yankees and Torreyes, causing the player to fall a notch or two in the pecking order of the organization.
Details are few, and that’s the way it should be with these things, but fans will recall Torreyes spending a good portion of the 2018 season back home attending to what was termed “personal issues” having to do with a family emergency.
Totaled up between Triple-A Scranton and the Yankees though, Torreyes managed to appear in only 67 games in 2018. We know that personal leave during a season for players is minimal. Deaths in the family and child birthing are granted a few days off, but that’s about it. Not having any facts, it’s best to leave it be. Except to say that Torreyes did what he needed to do, and the Yankees in turn now are doing what they need to do.
It’s called the business of baseball, and sometimes it doesn’t cast a very pretty picture. Ronald Torreyes may well be reeling today in the aftermath of learning he no longer has a job. But the resilience he displays on a baseball diamond is likely to carry him to a new team quickly.
Yankee fans can only hope we don’t see him step into the batter’s box in a tight-knit game wearing the uniform of another team. Otherwise, most of us wish Ronald Torreyes nothing but the best…
Written by Steve Contursi, Editor
Get the latest posts first on the Reflections On Baseball Facebook Group Page