The Chicago Cubs made their first significant move of the offseason, acquiring utility man Ronald Torreyes from the Yankees. The Cubs will send cash considerations or a player to be named later to the Yankees in the deal.
The Chicago Cubs got themselves an insurance policy on Wednesday afternoon. Twenty-six-year-old Ronald Torreyes will provide depth to and flexibility to a team that has become adept at utilizing such players in recent years. Torreyes played significant time at third base, shortstop and second base during his time in New York.
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Torreyes fits the mold of a Joe Maddon player. In other words, he’s a guy who has played all over the infield, and even some outfield – and will easily find playing time for the Cubs in 2019. Torreyes had been designated for assignment by the Yankees earlier in the week to make room for a wave of pitching prospects on their 40-man roster.
What Torreyes brings to the Cubs
Along with the ability to play a variety of positions, Torreyes has proven himself to be a solid hitter (at least in terms of average) during his short MLB career. Torreyes has hit .281 with four home runs and 55 RBI over 221 games with the Yankees over the course of three seasons.
While Torreyes has a less-than-impressive .685 OPS during his career (and similarly sub-par 81 OPS+), his worth will come in other areas. He is a skilled defender, with the ability to play shortstop. With the Cubs only having one shortstop on their roster for Opening Day (Javier Baez), Torreyes can help fill a void and give the Cubs flexibility regardless of what direction Theo Epstein decides to go in the offseason.
This will be Torreyes’ second stint in the Cubs organization. He was originally acquired by the Cubs in the 2011 trade that sent Sean Marshall to the Cincinnati Reds. Torreyes spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons in the Cubs minor league system.
What does it mean for Addison Russell?
While fans may be quick to deem the Torreyes acquisition as the end of Russell’s tenure in Chicago, it probably won’t impact how the front office decides to handle their shortstop’s looming arbitration decision.
With 25 games remaining on Russell’s 40-game domestic violence suspension, the Cubs have yet to indicate whether they will bring the troubled shortstop back to the team. We’ll know one way or another – at least in terms of tendering him a contract – by Friday.
Torreyes can play shortstop, but he is not an everyday solution for the Cubs middle infield. This guy has a skill set that will likely translate to a bench role for the Cubs. Torreyes will give the Cubs further options and can help the team survive any injuries that may occur.
As a right-handed utility man, Torreyes will rival David Bote for playing time. He also makes other Cubs role players more expendable in potential offseason trades.