The Yankees announced Sunday that they have reached agreement on a one-year contract with Gleyber Torres, avoiding salary arbitration. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the deal is worth $9.95MM, right at the midway point between the $10.2MM sum that Torres requested and the $9.7MM number that New York put forth when arbitration figures were exchanged earlier this winter.
Torres commanded $6.25 million in 2022 — his second year of arbitration eligibility — and went on to bounce back from a power standpoint with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 140 regular-season games for the AL East champions. He totaled only nine homers over 127 games played in 2021, when his negotiated salary came in at $4 million. Torres seemed a bit more comfortable in general last year following a more permanent move from shortstop to second base. But he does have some work to do in the OBP department, as his .310 on-base percentage from 2022 was a personal low. That number finished at .331 in 2021, .356 in 2020, .337 in 2019 and .340 in his rookie year in 2018.
Torres drew back-to-back All-Star nods in his first two major league seasons before regular defensive mishaps and inconsistent offensive production threatened to derail such a promising start to his career. He just turned 26 years old and is currently under the Yankees’ control through the 2024 campaign. They’ll certainly hope that he can carry over the hard-hit-rate rebound in 2023 while looking for him to return to overall form as a worthy top-of-the-lineup presence.
Most projected roster outlooks have Torres batting leadoff for the Yanks this season, table-setting ahead of Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, Harrison Bader, Aaron Hicks, Oswald Peraza and Jose Trevino. Largely unchanged over the winter, that lineup placed 2nd among all 30 MLB teams last year in runs scored, behind only the Dodgers. It ranked 4th in combined team OPS at .751 as the Bronx Bombers won 99 games.
Of course, Torres isn’t necessarily a guarantee to be part of the 2023 lineup. The Yankees are known to have looked into possible trades of infielders this winter, and while Donaldson or Isiah Kiner-Falefa might be the team’s preferred trade chips, Torres is also a candidate to be moved for the right return. The Marlins made a bid for Torres at the trade deadline, offering Pablo Lopez and Miguel Rojas to New York in exchange for Torres and Peraza, but the Bombers rejected the proposal.