I decided to do some research on Andres Torres last night so I could get a better feel of what kind of player he was and I quickly learned that the Giants were very anxious to move him. Lets see why…
Torres was originally drafted by the Florida Marlins in 1997 but chose to play at Miami Dade College instead. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers a year later and ended up playing in the minors for six years until 2004 when he was signed as a free agent by the Chicago White Sox. Seven months later, he was with the Texas Rangers’ farm club. Then, the Minnesota Twins 13 months after that. He was back in the Detroit farm system in 2007 then released again seven months later. The Chicago Cubs took a chance on him in 2008, but that lasted just a season, too. Five different teams in 10 years, where he averaged about nine big league games per season.
Torres signed with San Francisco as a free agent on January 9, 2009 . One season later, he was pressed into a starting role due to injuries and delivered a career year bating .268/.343/.479 with career highs in at bats (507), home runs (16), doubles (43), hits (136), RBI (63), stolen bases (26), and walks (56). He made just one error in 322 chances (.997 fielding percentage).
It was tremendous campaign for Torres, but in 2011 he came crashing back down to earth and batted .221/.312/.330 with four homers and 19 RBI. He gradually saw more and more bench time as the season wore on and by the end of 2011, it was clear he was back to being a journeyman, fourth outfielder.
As the Giants headed to Dallas for the Winter Meetings, they had already determined that Torres was just a bench player and they had very little interest in paying him $3 million or more to ride the pine next season. In fact, there was a better than 90% chance he would be non-tendered by December 12, and everyone knew that one of the Giants top priorities in Dallas was to trade him and get whatever they could before that date rolled around.
Torres now joins the Mets, his seventh team in twelve seasons, and even as a fourth outfielder he does have some value in that he’s a switch-hitter and could pinch hit, he’s an above average defender at all three outfield spots and he has great speed as a pinch-runner off the bench.
He can certainly get plenty of playing time as a caddie for Lucas Duda and spelling some spot starts, but it seems the front office is planning to go with Torres as their starting centerfield based on comments from Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson last night. There was even the suggestion that Torres and his career .318 OBP would be replacing Jose Reyes in the leadoff spot. Neither of those decisions sound like a good idea, but they’ll find that out come mid-April or early-May at the latest.
He’s a worse choice as a starting center fielder and leadoff hitter than Angel Pagan was.