Good afternoon everyone, it’s time to hop into the mailbag for more of your Yankees questions. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.
Edward R. asks: With Hicks done for the rest of the year, the aging of Brett Gardner and the health of Judge coming into question (though he has done well staying healthy so far in 2021), what are the chances of getting a good look at Estevan Florial in the outfield?
Better than I could have ever imagined at the start of the year, but still not particularly high. So far, Florial’s road to the majors has become undeniably shorter — Aaron Hicks being lost for the season this early into the year coupled with the hot start that Florial had at Double-A Somerset provided new life into his former top prospect profile. Florial’s case isn’t going to be that simple to make, however.
Florial had never played above High-A in his career before this season, excluding an emergency one-game substitution in the Bronx last season. His rapid success in Double-A was a remarkable sight, but it warranted some patience and further study. His promotion to Triple-A went about as expected — things caught up to Florial at a new level of competition and he’s struggled a bit. That’s not to say that he’s overmatched necessarily, but he’s going to need time to figure things out in a level mixed with top shelf prospects and former Major Leaguers.
Florial has again played substitute for the Yankees, getting called up to play in the back half of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Blue Jays, but he was immediately sent down afterwards. It’s likely that the Yankees give Florial until the trade deadline to try and make some noise down in Scranton while they assess the market. If they don’t like the offers out there, or if Florial forces the issue by playing like he did in his opening stretch of the season again, then he could certainly be in pinstripes for good during the dog days of summer. The organization has played the long game with his development already though, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they kept him on pace for a full-time role with the 2022 team.
CANL asks: Do the Yanks look to move Sánchez?
This season? No. In the offseason? It’s on the table. I root for Gary Sánchez to do as well as anyone else in pinstripes, but it’s undeniable that the form from his amazing 2016 debut and superb follow-up in 2017 are getting farther and farther away from him. He’s still got a lot of room to work things out this year, but he’s already lost some playing time to Kyle Higashioka — who hasn’t done much since earning that bump, either — and it’s going to be tough for him to suddenly flip the switch.
The Yankees don’t really that the options in-house warrant a move away from Sánchez, however, so that’s why I feel confident in saying he’s got as many games left as the Yankees will play in 2021 to prove something. They certainly don’t have the pieces to look for an upgrade on the market midseason considering all the other holes they need to fix in the roster. If he ends up giving more of the same though, it’s going to be tough to justify his place on the roster, let alone as the main starter.
serveandvolley asks: While the odds of the Yankees going over the CBT to land Max Scherzer at the trade deadline are about as likely as me pitching for the team, how would you rank the potential Yankees’ playoff rotation of Cole/Scherzer/Kluber/Pick a 4th starter compared to the Dodgers’ Bauer/Kershaw/Buehler/Urias and the Padres’ Darvish/Musgrove/Snell/Lamet?
I can’t imagine a better rotation that the Yankees could put forward this year, so naturally it’s frustrating that this is such a longshot. That aside, this rotation is scary good, and would deserve to be in the conversation with the Dodgers and Padres’ arms that you mentioned. This question was posed before the Corey Kluber injury happened, and that does throw a wrench into things since there’s really no way to know what form Kluber will be in when he returns, but it’s fairly likely that he would still slot in as the number three. Slot Domingo Germán in as the fourth since he’s mostly pitched well since his demotion, and this rotation could play.
Now, as much as it pains me to admit it, I would give the edge to the Dodgers’ rotation among these three options — there’s just no weak link in their ability to pass the baton from electric arm to electric arm. I’d ride with Gerrit Cole against anyone else and Mad Max is a stud, but the bigger picture is that the Yankees have some definite question marks. Given a one-two combo of Cole and Scherzer though, I’d feel confident enough to take those Yankees over the Padres — lineups notwithstanding.
The point of all of this, of course, is that I would very much appreciate it if Washington would pick up when Brian Cashman comes calling. As Josh has been saying recently, have a Luis Medina plus whatever else you want.
The idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: Why do I always draw a blank until late Thursday night when thinking of a question to ask?
Happens to the best of us.