By now, the Yankees have to know Gleyber Torres is the real thing. The smart business move says to extend him sooner rather than later…
Even though the Yankees might have a bad taste in their mouth from their unfortunate decision to extend Luis Severino and Aaron Hicks, the smart money says Gleyber Torres is a whole other matter.
Last year at this time, the Yankees were in the process of committing $140 million to two key players on the team. Severino and Hicks were both granted extensions, each for seven years.
At the time, who knew that Severino would be limited to only three starts and twelve innings pitched in 2019, the result of multiple injuries that plagued the Yankees rotation up to and including the Postseason.
Or that Aaron Hicks, who is fast becoming the next albatross on the Yankees payroll following Jacoby Ellsbury, would be in and out of the lineup – and then – would come the news that shoulder surgery will keep him out of the lineup for the first half of 2020.
These guaranteed contracts are the bane of every major league team. And though the Yankees have had their share of questionable results versus the outlay of money, certain players break through the ice.
Gleyber Torres is one of those players, Aaron Judge is another, and you can stop right there.
Yankees: Pay now or pay bigger later
Oddly, the Yankees have not made a move with Judge. The team will soon learn the cost of not locking him up as Judge enters the first of three arbitration years before reaching free agency in 2023.
Five million dollars would appear only to be a starting point for Judge to earn in his first arbitration season this year. And it could go even higher.
From there, it’s reasonable to assume Judge’s salary will double each of the next two years, meaning the Yankees will be tagged for a minimum of $20 in his walk year.
As a middle infielder with power, Gleyber Torres figures to eclipse even those totals. Remember, 2020 is the “free year” the Yankees picked up by waiting to promote Torres. A raise from the $605,200 Torres drew last year is a no-brainer.
How much of a raise? Well, there you go again multiplying – not adding – from the $2-3 million Brian Cashman, if he intends to walk the streets of New York again, will need to recommend as a raise for Torres this season.
Gleyber Torres is a cut above the rest
It’s one thing to offer a pitcher, and especially a starting pitcher, a seven-year deal – and Cashman should be spanked for doing so with Severino. He’ll get another chance, though, whenever the situation with Domingo German is cleared up.
But it’s quite another thing with a position player like Torres, especially when it appears the man is serious about his baseball career and he intends to do all that it takes to become one of the best second-baseman ever to play the game.
Which reminds me, the Yankees need to do everything they can to keep Gleyber Torres at second base, as opposed to moving him to shortstop.
According to Baseball-Reference, Torres is now 6’1″ and weighs an even 200 pounds. At only 23, he’s still a growing boy. Torres noticeably gained some muscle last winter, and it was one of the reasons he hit an astounding 38 home runs in 2019.
With the bulk added and more to come, it’s a disservice to Torres, and ultimately the team, for the Yankees to think he will continue to have the agility and wide range of skills a major league shortstop needs.
Torres can be average at shortstop, but who wants average?
Once bitten doesn’t need to mean twice shy
No, give Gleyber Torres a home at second base for the next decade and a salary befitting an All-Star over the same period.
Dustin Pedroia is the exception, not the rule. And the Red Sox did not error when they extended a long-term contract to him that leaves them holding the bag for $25 million, Pedroia’s 2020 and 2021 seasons, in which injuries will again keep him off the field.
Stung, especially by Aaron Hicks and his inability to remain on the field, doesn’t mean the Yankees need to fold the tent on extensions.
Gleyber Torres is exceptional, and the Yankees know it. It’s time, however, for them to act as though they know it…