Gleyber Torres enters final season ahead of free agency saying 'I want to be a Yankee for life'

Wed, Feb 21, 2024
MLB News (AP)

Gleyber Torres enters final season ahead of free agency saying 'I want to be a Yankee for life'

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Starting what could be his final season with the New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres was clear about his intent.

"I don't want to leave," the 27-year-old infielder said Wednesday. "I want to be a Yankee for life."

Torres was an All-Star in his first two seasons with the Yankees in 2018 and '19, slumped badly for two years and rebounded to become a productive if not spectacular player. He hit .273 with 25 homers, 68 RBIs and 13 stolen bases last season with an .800 OPS.

Torres has a $14.2 million, one-year contract and is eligible for free agency after the World Series. There have not been any discussions about a long-term deal and he understands why the team might be reluctant following two notable players who underperformed: Luis Severino and Aaron Hicks.

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Severino reached a deal in February 2019 that paid him $52.25 million for five seasons, then made just 40 starts and five relief appearances while going 13-12 with a 4.47 ERA. Hicks agreed that same month to a $70 million, seven-year contract for 2019-25, then had repeated injuries and hit .218 with 31 homers and 145 RBIs in 303 games before he was released last May.

"We know what's happened in the past, and I don't blame them. That's the business," Torres said. "So if I (have) a really good year and put (up) really good numbers, I think we can get a conversation, for sure."

Torres doesn't dwell on the uncertainty, busy with on-field work during the day and spending time with son Ethan, who turns 2 next month.

"I can't lie," Torres said. "I just think sometimes maybe that I'm starting my last year here because I don't know what's the business plan next year. But, man, it's just like motivate myself. Like I always say, we play for another team sometimes, and it's a business."

Torres knows this is a key year for the Yankees because of the number of players who can become free agents - he is joined by outfielders Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo, reliever Clay Holmes and right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga.

Torres doesn't want to negotiate during the season but hopes the Yankees will consider a long-term deal at some point. He cited Aaron Judge, who became a free agent after his record-setting 2022 season and agreed to a $360 million, nine-year deal.

Obtained in the 2016 trade with the Chicago Cubs for closer Aroldis Chapman, Torres has a .267 average with 123 homers, 378 RBIs and 49 steals.

He was among the players who arrived early Wednesday and were in their pinstriped home uniforms for photo day, a reminder of the Yankees tradition Torres wants to remain a part of. Torres has heard repeated talk of a possible departure but has gotten used to it.

"Every year is something, trade rumors and things like that," he said.



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