Gleyber Torres & Miguel Andujar Could Become Explosive Infield Duo For The New York Yankees By 2018 And Beyond?

When the New York Yankees opened the 2017 season, they were widely inexperienced. Their right fielder was a rookie. Thier catcher had just 55 games under his belt. Their first baseman had even fewer. One of their starters was just 23 years old.

It was supposed to be a year of transition. The Yankees readied themselves for the growing pains that were sure to come during a campaign in which much wasn’t expected. Last season was the time to see what these kids had to offer.

When the New York Yankees opened the 2017 season, they were widely inexperienced.

Their right fielder was a rookie. Thier catcher had just 55 games under his belt. Their first baseman had even fewer. One of their starters was just 23 years old.

It was supposed to be a year of transition. The Yankees readied themselves for the growing pains that were sure to come during a campaign in which much wasn’t expected. Last season was the time to see what these kids had to offer.

It turns out the answer was plenty. New York shockingly made it to Game 7 of the ALCS thanks largely to the Baby Bombers, pulling off a seamless rebuild with the flick of a switch. Now, with spring training just a few weeks away, it looks like the Yankees could once again rely on a couple of kids. The only difference is that the team enters the 2018 season as the World Series favorite.

That shouldn’t stop New York from going with would-be-rookies Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar at second and third, respectively. Earlier this week, Brian Cashman said that’s something he’s open to.

“If the market changes, we’re prepared to adjust,” the general manager told the New York Post. “But right now, we’re still treading water. This is what we’ve got, in addition to other guys like Tyler Wade and [Thairo] Estrada. I’m excited with what we have.”

Being that it’s only January, Cashman stopped far short of fully endorsing the two, and for good reason. Torres is coming off Tommy John surgery and Andujar’s defense showed room for improvement last season. If one or the other or both don’t look ready in camp, the Yankees have Wade, Estrada, Ronald Torreyes and the newly-acquired Jace Peterson as alternative options until that changes. An infielder can still be added this offseason.

Of course, there is also the possibility that the Yankees try to manipulate Torres’ and Andujar’s service time. If the two spend the first 12 days of the season in the minors, New York gets an additional year of service time before the infielders can reach free agency.

Those 12 days aside, the two would-be rookies are the best options the Yankees currently have. They should get every opportunity to take over infield spots vacated by the departures of Starlin Castro and Chase Headley.

Yes, having two freshmen in a starting lineup is risky, especially for a team attempting to win it all. That said, Torres is the game’s top prospect not named Shohei Ohtani. Andujar has done nothing but rake as he has climbed the minor league latter. The kids have shown themselves to be plenty deserving — they will and should get a chance to earn their jobs this spring.

The Yankees may have to stay patient, but that was the case last year. It worked out beautifully. Now, as New York weighs going with Torres and Andujar, the concern should be talent, not inexperience.

That seems to be Cashman’s mindset, anyway.

“My job is to be concerned with everyone, whether it’s experienced players like Greg Bird and CC Sabathia staying healthy and playing all year or seeing how younger players adjust to the majors,” Cashman said. “We’ve known what Andujar is capable of and we know the talent of Torres.”

By Gary Phillips