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Inbox: What position will Torres play for Yanks?

Beat reporter Bryan Hoch answers fans' questions
January 9, 2017

With Gleyber Torres destined to be in pinstripes no later than 2018, does the possibility exist that Didi Gregorius or Starlin Castro could move to third base? Or could Torres be moved to second or third base? -- Jerome V., Simi Valley, Calif.The Yanks' recent focus on adding young and

With Gleyber Torres destined to be in pinstripes no later than 2018, does the possibility exist that Didi Gregorius or Starlin Castro could move to third base? Or could Torres be moved to second or third base?
-- Jerome V., Simi Valley, Calif.

The Yanks' recent focus on adding young and athletic talent will afford them a few options with the up-and-coming Torres, who played mostly shortstop in the Minors following last year's trade and then dabbled at second base and third base in the Arizona Fall League. The club still see Torres as a shortstop, but he picked up at-bats at other positions because the Yanks had already declared Miguel Andujar as an AFL third baseman before the Cubs trade.
Torres -- rated the Yankees' No. 2 prospect and the Majors' No. 17 prospect by -- will begin the year at Double-A Trenton and, coming off his AFL performance, he's clearly on a fast track to the Majors. They're not going to rush him, but I could see a scenario where the Yankees field a lineup with Gregorius and Torres up the middle in the near future, with Castro shifting to third base.
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Remember, they experimented briefly with the idea of having Castro play some third last spring before deciding that it was asking a bit much to put two new positions and a new team on his plate all at the same time. That said, Castro seemed to embrace the challenges and responded fairly well.

Chase Headley is under contract through 2018 and Castro is affordably signed through '19, with a $16 million option for '20. The Yanks have already gauged the trade market for Headley and might revisit that at some point, though it's also possible they could entertain a Castro trade, especially if Torres is banging on the big league door sooner than expected.
Can you make a prediction about what the Yankees' infield will look like in 2017-'18-'19?
-- Steve S., Philadelphia

This season is easy: you'll have Greg Bird at first base, Castro at second, Gregorius at shortstop and Headley at third. Next season is interesting, and playing off the previous question, I'll roll the dice on the Yanks having Torres at second base and Castro moving over to third, with Headley wearing another uniform.
After that? Dream big. There's a scenario where the 2019 Yankees could have Manny Machado at the hot corner, joining Bird at first base, Torres at second and Gregorius in his final year before free agency at short. It'll also be fun to see if Jorge Mateo can fit into the mix, now that he's experimenting with second base as well as center field.
I feel we've been lucky to not go through a losing season in over a decade. Even when they're not great, they're still fun to watch. How does the Yankees' run of over .500 baseball measure up to teams in the past? Has there ever been a run of more winning seasons?
-- Jason L., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Last season marked the Yankees' 24th consecutive season with a winning record (1993-2016); there has only been one longer streak in history, and the Yankees can claim that one, too. They did not post a losing season for 39 straight years from 1926-64, a run that started with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig headlining the roster and ended with Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Whitey Ford among the team's biggest stars. The longest non-Yankees winning season streak belongs to the Orioles, who enjoyed 18 straight from 1968-85.
Do you see the Yanks going for another starter or are they really set to start the season?
-- Patrick F., Vestal, N.Y.

They're remaining engaged with the market, so it would not be a surprise to see them bring down a name like Doug Fister or Jason Hammel if they were willing to accept a relatively affordable contract, someone who they could plug in behind Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Carsten Sabathia as a solid No. 4 starter.
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Even though the Yanks potentially could pull off a trade for someone like Jose Quintana of the White Sox, the sense is that they would prefer to keep their elite prospects. It would be nice to see a more stable name in the back end of the Spring Training rotation, but they might have more luck addressing that in-season.

I haven't heard Tyson Ross' name. He's someone who potentially can be a low-cost ace. Why not take the risk?
-- Yaakov L., Monsey, N.Y.

Ross has not really been connected to the Yankees this offseason, with the Cubs and Rangers said to be the finalists for his services. Certainly, the fact that he didn't pitch after Opening Day last season and isn't a sure bet to be ready for the start of the season plays into that.
With Ross reported to be seeking a one-year deal worth $9 to $11 million plus incentives, he represents an expensive lottery ticket -- and, given his career splits against left-handed hitters, one that I'm not sure projects all that well to author a bounce-back season in Yankee Stadium.
Where does Rob Refsnyder fit into the Yankees' youth movement?
-- Derek C., West Sacramento, Calif.

I'm sure Refsnyder is wondering that himself. His best avenue to stick on the roster will be to continue embracing the super-utility role they have envisioned for him, though he's not really in a situation where they consider him a starter at any of the positions he plays.

They will likely give him reps at every infield position but shortstop and both of the outfield corners this spring. Refsnyder said that he recognizes the need to hit for more power and has spent part of his offseason reviewing video of hitters like the Twins' James Dozier, the Indians' Jason Kipnis and the Tigers' Ian Kinsler.
"Obviously, I don't really know what's in store," Refsnyder said in November. "What I'm focusing on is some swing changes and mechanical changes, and watching a lot of video, studying the hitters I've admired over the years. I'm trying to do certain movements and get my swing back to where I'd like. This past year or so, it's been a struggle; I felt like I was close and right now I feel pretty good."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.