While we await more pivotal moves, the Cubs made a little splash Wednesday afternoon when it was announced that they had acquired infielder Ronald Torreyes from the Yankees for cash or a player to be named later. A veteran of parts of four MLB seasons, the versatile Torreyes came up with the Dodgers and has been with the Yankees since 2016. Capable of playing second, third, and short, the 26-year-old is in his first year of arbitration eligibility and has additional value due to his remaining minor league option.
Perhaps I should have actually said that the Cubs re-acquired Torreyes, who was a member of the organization for about 19 months across 2012 and 2013. Originally signed by the Reds in 2010 as an international free agent, Torreyes was traded to the Cubs along with Dave Sappelt and Travis Wood in exchange for Sean Marshall. Everything old is new again, it seems.
Torreyes made it to Double-A Tennessee, but was traded to Houston in July of 2013 for international bonus slots. He was traded to Toronto two years later for cash or a PTBNL, then was flipped two months after that to Los Angeles for cash. Seven months to the date of his trade to the Dodgers, Torreyes was sent to New York for, wait for it…cash or a PTBNL.
So this guy has bounced around a lot, and for good reason. As nice as that defensive flexibility is, there’s very little about Torreyes’s offensive game that sticks out. His .281 lifetime average is solid, and it’s over 615 plate appearances, so it’s not a fluke. But he’s drawn a total of 24 walks and has a mere .310 OBP with a .375 slugging percentage that includes just four homers. Then again, he doesn’t strike out much, which is helpful.
On the surface, this appears to be a depth move that could offer a little insurance with the non-tender deadline coming up Friday. Addison Russell has been the subject of much debate and, while signs seem to point to the Cubs retaining him, they might want a safety net in case they opt to trade him or let him become a free agent.
There’s also the matter of Tommy La Stella being out of options, which decreases the Cubs’ roster flexibility a little bit. La Stella is also projected to make $1.2 million in arbitration while Torreyes is only projected for $900,000. So Torreyes, who’s mainly a second baseman, could be competing for a bench gig if he sticks around through the spring, but could also be stashed in Iowa in the same way the Cubs used Mike Freeman.
It’s possible this move is indicative of something more in either the next few days or months, just as it’s possible this is about rounding out the 40-man (now at 39) with versatility. We’ll know more by Friday, though even Russell’s immediate fate may not tell us everything about the Torreyes move. The intrigue, it builds.