Arguing why Yankees should trade or extend Gleyber Torres, plus a prediction

NEW YORK — Gleyber Torres doesn’t want to play anywhere other than with the New York Yankees. For the past couple of years, he’s endured offseasons and trade deadlines during which his name has swirled in so many rumors. At the 2022 deadline, for example, the Yankees and the Miami Marlins were deep into discussions about a potential Torres deal that would have sent starting pitcher Pablo López to the Bronx. Since then, Torres has refused to even dabble in the rumor mill. He said he doesn’t let those close to him bring up the latest chatter regarding his future, either.

“A thing with my family is that we don’t talk about any trades or anything like that,” Torres said recently. “Just play baseball.”

But while his future remains murky, when it comes to one thing, Torres is clear.

“The future is hard (to predict),” he said. “But I just want to be here.”

But the Yankees aren’t in the business of sentimentality — or at least they haven’t been since they let an over-the-hill Derek Jeter hit in his customary No. 2 spot throughout all of 2014, his final season.

What to do with Torres may be a subject the Yankees have to confront when they assess how the 2023 season went so wrong and how to fix it.

Let’s argue about whether they should keep Torres or trade him this offseason.

Keep: Torres made $9.9 million in his second-to-last year of salary arbitration this season. He could be looking at a payday worth more than $12 million in 2024. That doesn’t seem like a big overpay for Torres, who has been one of the best offensive second basemen in the majors this season. Among those at his position with at least 500 at-bats, his .337 on-base percentage was fifth and his .470 slugging percentage third going into Thursday, when he went 2-for-3 with a home run in a 10-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers. Plus, he’s been one of the Yankees’ most consistent bats in a year when Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu have each underperformed. (Stanton, Rizzo and LeMahieu are expected to be major parts of next year’s lineup, too.) Keeping Torres and punting a decision on his future until next year’s trade deadline or the offseason should be high on the Yankees’ list of options.

Trade: He’s arguably one of the Yankees’ best trade chips. He doesn’t hold a massive contract like stars Aaron Judge or Gerrit Cole — not like the Yankees would trade them anyway. But he’s also not a youngster still playing on a rookie deal. As a rental, he could be appealing to plenty of teams looking to add middle-of-the-order pop from someone looking to prove himself in what would be a walk year.

Keep: Torres will be 27 years old next season. That should be the start of the prime of his career. While Torres likely will never again hit 38 home runs the way he did in 2019, when the ball was juiced, he’ll finish near 30 this season. He already has 25 homers. As long as he stays healthy, Torres could be trending toward his best years, especially since he’ll no longer be asked to cover shortstop. Plus, Torres has proved durable. He’s played in 713 of 848 possible games, or 84 percent. Manager Aaron Boone said staying on the field has especially been a priority this season for Torres. “Everyone goes through things,” Boone said. “He’s had his little bang-ups here and there throughout the year, and it’s been important for him to post and be in that lineup, and I think it’s something that I’ve seen from him, like that importance of taking that responsibility to be available and accountable each and every day. I just do think he’s grown a lot as still a very young man in what’s been a five-, six-year career.”

Trade: The Yankees have talked up their prospects, and Oswald Peraza might need to be given everyday at-bats in the majors rather than at Triple A at this point to continue his development. With LeMahieu showing this season that he can more than handle third base full time in Josh Donaldson’s absence, there’s an argument to be made that the Yankees could put Peraza at second base and trade Torres to upgrade a roster that doesn’t have long-term solutions at left field, center field or catcher, or for help on the pitching staff. Peraza is considered by many to be a superior defender at shortstop to Anthony Volpe, but the New Jersey native has played well at the position and the Yankees seem committed to keeping him there. Peraza’s athleticism and strong arm might make him an upper-tier defensive second baseman, and the Yankees could cross their fingers that his powerful bat develops consistency. The Athletic’s Keith Law ranked Peraza as the No. 76 prospect in the game going into this season.

Keep: Technically, Torres isn’t a homegrown Yankee. The team acquired him from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline when he was 19 years old at High A. But he continued his growth in the Yankees’ system, became one of the Baby Bombers and endeared himself to fans quickly. He said he sees the Yankees as his family. “I feel really confident here, really comfortable,” he said. “I’ve known everybody since 2016. So, playing in this organization is an honor, first of all. It’s great when you play with those guys every day, you always want to win, and playing in New York is amazing. I know it can be tough, but I feel too like it’s part of the experience.”

Trade: Advanced statistics don’t love his defense (16th in FanGraphs’ defensive runs saved with negative-2, 29th in Statcast’s outs above average with negative-2). He continues to make some questionable decisions on the basepaths.

Prediction: The Yankees keep Torres through the offseason, waiting on a potential trade until next year’s deadline when they assess whether they were able to rebound from their awful 2023.

Now it’s your turn to argue in our comments section.

(Photo: New York Yankees / Getty Images)

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