Yankees ‘More Than Likely’ to Replace $14 Million Former All-Star: Columnist

Hal Steinbrenner

Getty New York Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner might opt to cut ties with Gleyber Torres as he looks to reduce payroll and re-sign Juan Soto

The New York Yankees have the second-largest payroll in MLB this season at more than $305 million, per Spotrac, and principal owner Hal Steinbrenner has said that will be unsustainable for the franchise moving forward.

“I’m gonna be honest, payrolls at the levels we’re at right now are simply not sustainable for us financially,” he said during owners meetings this week, according to the New York Post. “It wouldn’t be sustainable for the vast majority of ownership (groups), given the luxury tax we have to pay.”

With those financial limitations and the team’s outspoken desire to re-sign Juan Soto to a mega contract, it seems the Yankees are poised to move on from several of their current players. And a prime candidate will be two-time All-Star second baseman Gleyber Torres.

“That means it’s more than likely Gleyber Torres, who’ll be eligible for free agency this winter, won’t return next season,” Yankees columnist Bob Klapsich wrote for NJ Advance Media. “He’ll instead be replaced by the growing number of Yankees who’ve come through the farm system and are currently flourishing.”

Gleyber Torres Has Slumped in a Contract Year for the New York Yankees

Torres is playing on a one-year, $14.2 million deal with free agency looming at the end of the season. With All-Star seasons as well as Rookie of the Year Award and MVP Award votes in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Torres once seemed set for a long tenure at the Yankees’ keystone, but his offensive struggles this season have changed things.

He’s slashing just .218/.295/.303 with three homers and 52 strikeouts in 188 at bats on the season, down from a career line of .264/.332/.444. He still seems likely to earn a significant long-term deal for next year and beyond, given his previous accomplishments and abilities at a premier defensive position, but it doesn’t seem likely that deal will come from the Yankees.

“But as a relatively young player reaching free agency for the first time next winter, Torres could have put himself in position for an extremely lucrative multiyear deal,” Brendan Kuty reported for The Athletic. “And he still has a chance. But he hasn’t done any favors for himself or the Yankees, who may need to re-evaluate his playing time if he doesn’t pick it up.”

The New York Yankees Could Move on From Several Players to Clear Salary

Ultimately, every payroll decision for the Yankees going into next season will revolve around Soto, who is widely projected to earn a deal of at least $500 million. If Steinbrenner is determined to match any other offers for Soto while reducing the team’s overall payroll, any number of players on the roster could be moving on to new teams. 

“Gleyber Torres, Alex Verdugo and Tommy Kahnle combine for $28.65 million worth of 2024 payroll,” Pete Caldera noted for NorthJersey.com. “All three are primed to move on as free agents.”

A pair of young infielders, Oswald Peraza as well as Oswaldo Cabrera, could be the prime candidates to replace Torres at second base going forward, or the Yankees might turn to other, less expensive options in their farm system or via transaction.

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