The Yankees and infielder Gleyber Torres have avoided arbitration, per Joel Sherman of The New York Post. The Octagon client will make $14.2MM this year in his final year of club control before reaching free agency.
Torres just turned 27 in December, so he’s on track to become a free agent at an earlier point of his career than most free agents. He put together a strong .273/.347/.453 slash in 672 trips to the plate in 2023, popping 25 home runs and connecting on 28 doubles and a pair of triples. Torres walked at a 10% clip — the highest mark of his career in a full season — and struck out at a career-low 14.6% clip. He added 13 steals in 19 tries as well. Both Defensive Runs Saved (-4) and Outs Above Average (-3) pegged him as a slightly below-average defender, but neither portrayed him as a pure liability. Torres’ well-rounded offensive output more than offset any shortcomings with the glove.
While Torres has been an oft-rumored trade candidate throughout his Yankees tenure, it seems increasingly likely that he’ll play out his final season of club control in Yankee pinstripes. He was the team’s second-best hitter behind Aaron Judge last season, and the Yanks are going all out in an effort to return to the postseason after last year’s miss — evidenced by their acquisition of Juan Soto, their aggressive (but unsuccessful) pursuit of Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and tonight’s subsequent $37MM deal with right-hander Marcus Stroman. Add in the club’s trade for division rival outfielder Alex Verdugo and the potential for some further free-agent upgrades in the bullpen, and it’s clear the Yankees are focused on putting the best possible team on the field. Torres should be a pivotal part of that.
Torres has had an up-and-down tenure in the Bronx. He’ll probably never replicate the 38-homer season he delivered in the juiced-ball campaign back in 2019, but after moving off shortstop to a second base position that suits him far better, he’s been a consistently above-average hitter. Whether that’s pure happenstance or whether the pressures of struggling at shortstop were weighing on him at the plate can never be definitively proven, but either way, Torres has hit .266/.330/.452 since his position change.
Assuming he’s able to author a third consecutive season in that general vicinity, Torres will reach free agency next year as one of the top infielders available — both based on his age and his offensive track record. He’d be a surefire candidate to receive and reject a qualifying offer, giving the Yankees the opportunity to recoup some value in the form of a 2025 draft pick (as will be the case with the aforementioned Soto). That could well be the ultimate route for Torres, too, as the Yankees could turn the second base job over to prospect Oswald Peraza in 2025, when he’ll still be just 24 years of age.