Yankees’ $31 Million Infield Duo Could Get Replaced at Deadline: Ex-MLB GM

Anthony Rizzo Gleyber Torres

Getty The latest Yankees rumors make it sound like Gleyber Torres and Anthony Rizzo are running out of time to contribute in the Bronx.

Things are going quite well for the New York Yankees. As of June 3, they’re 42-19 and have a three-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. But that doesn’t mean Yankees rumors aren’t already flying with the trade deadline less than two months away. Could second baseman Gleyber Torres and first baseman Anthony Rizzo have to step aside for eventual roster upgrades made by general manager Brian Cashman?

Jim Bowden of The Athletic mentioned that as a possibility while discussing trade-deadline needs for all 30 MLB teams. The Yankees’ right side of the infield has underperformed and if the production doesn’t improve, that will be the area of focus to upgrade via trades,” he said.

Thanks to sluggers like Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, New York’s overall offensive production is looking just fine. However, manager Aaron Boone was likely hoping to see more out of the right side of his infield.

Through 251 plate appearances, Torres is hitting .230/.308/.324 with four home runs, 16 RBI and 26 runs scored. Rizzo’s performance hasn’t been much better through 246 trips to the plate. He’s slashing .240/.301/.360 with seven homers, 25 RBI and 28 runs scored.

These two infielders have a combined 2024 salary of $31.2 million. According to Spotrac, Torres is making $14.2 million and Rizzo is earning $17 million.

Rizzo & Torres Have Plenty Left to Play for in 2024

With the Yankees firmly in postseason contention as one of baseball’s best teams, there’s plenty for Rizzo and Torres to play for in 2024. The same is true when looking at their individual contract situations, as well.

Rizzo is in the second season of a two-year, $40 million contract. The Bombers also hold a $17 million club option on the veteran left-handed hitter for 2025. He only played in 99 games in 2023 because of issues with a concussion he suffered early in the season. That hampered his overall production, which resulted in a .706 OPS, 12 homers and 41 RBI in 421 plate appearances. That, combined with a slow start to 2024 doesn’t bode well for the option being exercised.

Torres is playing out his final year of team control before hitting free agency this winter. He’s been a consistent producer for the Yankees since debuting in 2018, but the 2023 campaign was among his best. He slashed .273/.347/.453 with 25 homers, 28 doubles, 68 RBI and 90 runs scored through 672 plate appearances.

A down season right before entering the free-agent market might not hamper Torres’ market much. That’s especially the case since he’ll only be turning 28 years old this December. But still, not performing up to expectations won’t help once he can speak with interested teams.

Yankees Rumors Have Been Circulating Them for a While

The Bombers are operating with a payroll north of $300 million this season. Team owner Hal Steinbrenner doesn’t want that to become the norm.

“I’m gonna be honest, payrolls at the levels we’re at right now are simply not sustainable for us financially,” Steinbrenner said on May 22. “It wouldn’t be sustainable for the vast majority of ownership [groups], given the luxury tax we have to pay.”

While this desire to get payroll under control isn’t supposed to hamper New York’s eventual pursuit of Soto, it’ll impact others.

Rizzo could get cut loose because of his anticipated 2025 salary and lack of production. Even New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso is being floated as a trade-deadline replacement.

Torres has publicly stated he’d like to be a Yankee for life, but a May 23 report from Bob Klapisch of NJ.com makes it sound like New York is ready to move on. “That means it’s more than likely Gleyber Torres, who’ll be eligible for free agency this winter, won’t return next season,” he said. “He’ll instead be replaced by the growing number of Yankees who’ve come through the farm system and are currently flourishing.”

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