Machado, Cano, And The Forgotten Ronald Torreyes
With yesterday’s news that the Yankees claimed Parker Bridwell off waivers from the Angels, the Ronald Torreyes era (that never was) came to an end as he was designated for assignment to make room on the roster. Bridwell provides some rotation depth for a team that acquired front-of-the-rotation talent in James Paxton just last week and was rumored to be shopping for another starting pitcher. Is Bridwell the answer to the 5th spot? In 121 inning for the Angels last season, the 27-year-old posted a respectable 3.64 ERA. The Yankees have been discussed as a potential landing spot for free agent Patrick Corbin this offseason, so it remains to be seen how this transaction may impact the prospect of signing another front-of-the-rotation guy like Corbin. To some, acquiring Bridwell off waivers will be viewed as a low-risk security blanket should the Yankees prove unsuccessful in signing another big arm. But, in my opinion, designating Torreyes creates more questions than answers for the Yankees at shortstop.
Does Brian Cashman have a plan for shortstop in the absence of Didi Gregorius? Of course he does. But, after yesterday’s transaction, those plans will not include Ronald Torreyes. When Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar were called on to play second and third base every day in 2018, they answered that call and then some. The two youngsters provided plenty of power and run support as part of a very talented Yankees lineup. But the success of the pair of rookies came at the expense of playing time for Ronald Torreyes. And when the need did arise for reinforcement on the big club, management opted for the likes of Brandon Drury, Neil Walker, and Tyler Wade more often than the struggling Torreyes. The 26-year-old played in just 41 games for New York this season, posting a respectable .280 average but with an unsightly .294 on-base percentage. A career .281 hitter, Torreyes has held some value for the Yankees over the past three seasons with the ability to play second base, shortstop, and some right field. With more consistent playing time in 2017, Torreyes posted a career-best .292 batting average. But, unfortunately, his inability to get on base at a consistent clip, coupled with the superstardom of Torres and Andujar, appears to have brought an end to his short-lived run in Pinstripes. I believe this puts more pressure on the Yankees to sign a big free agent like Manny Machado or bring back Robinson Cano (moving Torres to short) via trade with the Mariners.
Machado is projected to sign for more than $350 million this winter. With Gregorius on the sidelines until anywhere from June to August, would the hefty price tag be justified for a team trying to win the World Series? What about Cano? The Mariners have been reported as “actively” trying to move the former Yankee this offseason. In nine seasons with New York, from 2005-2013, Robinson Cano turned himself into one of the best all-around players in the game. For the most part, his success has transferred to Seattle, but an 80-game PED suspension in 2018 has tainted his great career and landed him on the trading block. Both Cano and Machado have spectacular upsides, but both come with baggage and at a cost. All things considered, I think the Yankees should have given Torreyes a shot at the shortstop job in Spring Training. But, as I said before, Brian Cashman surely has a plan that he is just waiting to hatch.