Let’s be honest for a moment: Ronald Torreyes was probably not ending the offseason as a New York Yankee.
The evidence was there: When Greg Bird came off the disabled list in May this past season, it was Ronald Torreyes who was sent to Scranton for the first time since becoming a big leaguer. The Yankees elected to trade for and start Adeiny Hechavarria over Torreyes when Didi Gregorius was hurt. With looming free agent signings on the horizon, it was going to be impossible to fit Torreyes on the 40-man roster, much less the major league roster. At best, Torreyes was a backup utility infielder for the Yankees. With the team claiming Parker Bridwell off waivers from the Angels, Torreyes was the likely move to make.
There is a chance that nobody opts to take the small infielder and he clears waivers, where he would likely be outrighted to AAA Scranton. But if this is indeed the end of the Ronald Torreyes era, then let’s take a look back on what Torreyes meant to this clubhouse.
You see, in early 2016, Torreyes was not regarded as anything. He was simply a utility infielder who was designated for assignment by the Dodgers, traded to the Yankees, designated by the Yankees and claimed by the Angels, then designated again by the Angels and claimed by the Yankees. He was only on the MLB roster after beating out longtime Cardinal Pete Kozma for the final bench spot. Over 32 games in the first half of the season, Torreyes was a .219/.253/.297 hitter, including one hit in June. It was not until mid-August, when he had an improbable 4-for-4 night with his first major league home run against the Angels (albeit off Jered Weaver), when the chatter on Ronald Torreyes began to start.
He went on to have 98 plate appearances in the second half, where he had 26 hits for a .286 average. Along with a strong spring performance, this was enough to earn him a spot on the opening day roster as the starting shortstop while Didi Gregorius recovered from injury. Torreyes impressed with a .313 average (and OBP) in April, eventually ending the season with 0.7 bWAR, a .292/.314/.375 line, and 19 extra base hits.
But that is not what made Torreyes a fan favorite. No, it was his personality, straight heart, hustle, and fun as the 25th man on the roster, that made him beloved in the clubhouse. In a span of four months, he had earned the nickname Toe (sometimes referred to as Big Toe), and was a clear fan and player favorite. He was what Ryan Goins and Matt Szczur were to the Blue Jays and Cubs respectively. He kept the remainder of the clubhouse loose during the 162-game season.
they have to do this after every win now pic.twitter.com/GDoiirF5Dt
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) August 17, 2017
As the season went along, running jokes and gags involving Torreyes became a focal point in the Yankee season. Whenever Aaron Judge would hit a home run, Didi would lift Torreyes for Aaron Judge to high five him. Late in the season, Torreyes would hold a “camera” while Didi would interview a teammate who had recently hit a home run, which would later be called The Toe-Night Show as the Yankees progressed through the postseason. Between this—and the thumbs down trend started by Todd Frazier—the Yankees were emotionally fired up in the 2017 postseason and in the beginning of the 2018 season before he was sent down for Greg Bird.
That’s just a glimpse of what Torreyes meant to the New York Yankee. He was the equivalent to an undersized kid on a little league team that would bring loads of energy even if he was a full-time bench player that came in after the fourth inning. Big Toe was the big energy of the clubhouse, and he will be missed by fans and former teammates alike if this is indeed it for Torreyes in a Yankee uniform.
UPDATE: Ronald Torreyes has been traded to the Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later.
Featured Photo: elebonado.com.ve