The Yankees’ general manager told reporters on Friday that the rookie infielder, who’s emerged as a legitimate American League Rookie of the Year candidate, won’t be included in any sort of potential trade for a starting pitching this summer.
“C’mon now, I have to walk around this city,” Cashman said.
Since Torres made his major league debut on April 22, the Yankees have won 34 of their last 45 games, and the 21-year-old Venezuelan native has been at the forefront of the team’s surge. In 156 at-bats, Torres has slashed .295/.351/.577 with 13 home runs, five doubles, 33 RBI, and a .928 OPS.
He’s also hit the most home runs by any second baseman in the American League, which has come as quite a surprise to Cashman and the front office. Torres never hit more than 11 homers in a minor league season.
“The very least, we thought we had a player that was like a Martin Prado-type, at the very least,” Cashman told the New York Daily News. “I thought that was the floor type. And that was a good player, that was an All-Star caliber player at times. But the ceiling is obviously pretty exciting.”
Although Torres’ numbers have impressed, manager Aaron Boone admires his poise, game knowledge, and ability to make adjustments the most.
“I think in Gleyber’s case he’s a really smart player,” Boone told the Daily News. “I’ve talked about his instincts a lot, talking about his instincts in the field a lot, well that carries over to the plate too. But also because he’s really talented, and I think the swing that he has gives him an opportunity to make those kind of adjustments and to be successful.
“The fact of the matter is, we’re [45 games] into his big-league career and he’s been really successful and been showing an aptitude for making adjustments. So, do I worry about [the home runs]? No, but we want to continue to come alongside him and help him continue to grow as what we think’s gonna be potentially a very special player.”
If the Yankees do pursue an additional pitcher at the non-waiver trade deadline, they’ll have to keep their budget in mind.
Ownership has been adamant in their goal to remain under the $197-million luxury tax threshold this season, and the Yankees have approximately $12 million left to spend without crossing that threshold.
“We purposely left a decent amount of money for just this.” Steinbrenner said. “I absolutely think, if we decide to go get a pitcher and if a pitcher’s available, I think we definitely have the flexibility to allow me to [stay under the luxury-tax threshold].”
Torres may not be the only youngster Cashman refuses to move. 23-year-old rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar has also flourished since his April call-up, hitting a team-high .303 with eight homers, 22 doubles, and 28 RBI in 55 games.
Steve Phillips, a former general manager of the New York Mets and current MLB Network Radio host, recently told BronxPinstripes.com that he can’t envision the Yankees parting ways with Torres or Andujar, who are no longer listed under the category of “prospects.”
“They seem to be core parts of their major league team, so I would suspect that any deal Brian Cashman is going to listen on would not include them,” Phillips said. “Last year, when Brian Cashman was having trade discussions, people would ask about them and he would say, ‘Yeah, we’re not moving them, but we’ll move anybody but those guys.’
“I can’t imagine that changes now that they’re successful major league players. He wouldn’t move them last year. Now that they’re actually up in the big leagues and are major contributors, I think they’re completely off-limits. Listen, you never say anybody’s untouchable, but some are more untouchable than others, and they’re pretty untouchable right now.”
Of course, this entire conversation about pitching and trade targets is still contingent upon the Yankees’ inclination to make a move. But based on Steinbrenner’s comments, his mind seems made up.
“It’s hard to say,” Cashman told NJ.com. “That’s always been a focus of ours — in the winter, in previous years. So we’re always trying to reinforce that, improve upon it. Time will tell. Meanwhile, it’s great to see what [Domingo] German’s come up and done — a really good job for us. [Masahiro] Tanaka might come back in a timely matter. It’d be nice to be able to improve things at the same time. This team has earned the right to get reinforced here, if we can find a way. But we really like the team we’ve got.”