Four years later, Torreyes, Girardi and Gregorius meet again with the Phillies and history repeats itself
NEW YORK – Where would the Phillies be without Ronald Torreyes? Possibly not within 0.5 game of the division-leading New York Mets.
For five weeks, Torreyes has been at shortstop, starting 20 of 24 games in place of the injured Didi Gregorius. He was 21 of 74 (.284) with a .758 OPS in 78 plate appearances and even hit two home runs, including a solo shot from the lead in Saturday’s 13-6 win.
“People say, ‘Why do you love Torreyes?’ He’s a baseball player, ”manager Joe Girardi said. “That is what it is. He really understands the game. And I trust him wherever I put it. I never worry about him. I can put him on third, shortstop, second, first, left field, center, right and I know he’s ready. That is a luxury for a manager. I don’t know where we would be without him.
Torreyes said he owes it all to his father, not just because Alcides hit him thousands of grounders.
He was one of the youngest kids on youth teams that were often coached by his father. Even now, he’s 5ft 8in, but says he’s “probably 5-6 or 5-5.”
It would have been easy to dismiss Torreyes as too small. But Alcides made sure his son believed he could play.
“He never allowed that to get in the way for me,” Torreyes said. “He said, ‘You have to show them that it doesn’t matter how tall you are or how short you are. Are you ready to play. He can perform at the highest level he reaches. ‘
Torreyes must have taken it seriously. What other explanation is there for the major league career that has been forged?
Signed by the Reds when he was 17 in 2010, he was traded to the Cubs in 2011 before jumping to the Astros, Blue Jays and Dodgers. He made his major league debut with Los Angeles late in the 2015 season before being traded to the Yankees, claimed by the Angels and claimed by the Yankees.
It was then that Girardi fell in love with him. The last thing a manager wants to worry about is the last player on his bench. In Torreyes, Girardi found someone who was always ready to intervene. And when Gregorius suffered a shoulder injury in 2017, Torreyes hit .308 in a month-long career as a Yankees shortstop.
Four years later, Torreyes, Girardi and Gregorius are reunited with the Phillies and history repeats itself.
Since spring training, I prepare as if I were an everyday player, ”said Torreyes.
“Because I understand my role in this team. Sometimes I’m not going to play for a week or two, but sometimes if someone gets injured, I can be in the lineup every day for a whole month.
Torreyes says that he is “eternally grateful” to Girardi “because he has given me all the opportunities I could ask for.” Girardi is arguably his second biggest benefactor.
However, as these weeks progress, the more Torreyes has played, the more he feels like he needs to stay in the lineup. He has been the best defensive player in the infield by a wide margin, his contact-oriented approach has helped a team that strikes out a lot and, subjectively, he seems to have been the spark the lineup has needed all season.
But, we all know that things must come to an end, especially when it comes to money. The fact is, Didi Gregorius will be back in the starting lineup when he’s ready, maybe because of his contract, maybe because of his overall talent. Torreyes will once again be a role player on the team, serving as a pinch hitter or competent substitute for players who need a day off.
This year Torreyes has played third base, second base, centerfield, shortstop and even as a pitcher.
It will also be a shame. Torreyes has been hitting quite well for the team, hitting when necessary, as seen above, as well as playing excellent defense.
At the risk of sounding too old about the state of the game, Torreyes has come through this year doing the things the Phillies aren’t good at: making contact and not getting on base. His .272 line, in 180 plate appearances, with 49 hits, so not exactly the largest sample size.
Torreyes has hit five home runs this year (the most in his career). In addition, he has driven in 27 runs and cheated 21 bases. The little Venezuelan giant is still “Girardi’s player”