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Yankees Mailbag: B-tier pitching targets, Zack Britton’s future, and outfield options

The mailbag arrives for a fresh round of answering your questions.

New York Yankees v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Good afternoon everyone, let’s dive 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.

Kenn24 asks: Who may be some good second tier pitchers the Yankees could target? I wouldn’t mind the Yankees going for a Michael Fulmer or Matthew Boyd, anyone else in this category as legit targets?

Fulmer has transitioned into a bullpen arm this year, so I think he’s probably off the Yankees’ radar, but Boyd is certainly in the conversation. The Yankees were interested in him years ago at the deadline, and though he’s been through a tough couple of years since then, he’s rebounded well this year with a repertoire adaptation. The only problem is that Boyd just hit the 10-day IL with “left arm discomfort,” so we’ll have to wait to see if he’s damaged goods or not.

Spencer Turnbull is another option from the Tigers and he’s probably the best pitcher they have to offer, but he’ll also be more expensive — he’s under team control for three more years. The Tigers played hardball the last time they had controllable pitchers to offer, so perhaps this time they’ll be more malleable to making a deal.

Another name to look for is Colorado’s Jon Gray. He’s not exactly a flashy pickup, but since he’s a free agent after this year and Colorado is nowhere close to contention he’ll almost certainly be getting moved. Gray has rebounded from a terrible 2020 back to respectable numbers, and if he can post a decent ERA playing half of his games in Coors he can probably be trusted to eat some innings in the Bronx. The secondary market is a tricky thing to pinpoint, however, so a lot of names will be up in the air until later in July.

hottman.b asks: With the Yankees dumping Adam Ottavino for his salary, would there be plans to do the same with Zack Britton? He’s making big money for a non closer, not discounting what he brings to the table but wouldn’t it be wise to consider any moves that free up money to allow the Yankees to make additional moves?

I don’t think so, mainly because Ottavino’s salary was only burdensome due to his simultaneous struggles during the 2020 season. If Ottavino had posted similar numbers to his 2019 season — minus the postseason implosion — it would’ve been a tough decision to trade him, and he certainly wouldn’t have gone to Boston. Britton has been one of the cornerstones of the bullpen since arriving in the trade with Baltimore, and he’s earning closer money because he could be a closer for most other clubs.

Whether Britton gets re-signed after next year is a different conversation, but I expect him to play out his contract in pinstripes. The money owed to him shouldn’t be a deterrent from adding pieces in the offseason, especially if the Yankees accomplish their clear goal of resetting the luxury tax.

Florida_Yankees_Fan asks: If you had to bring up a minor league outfielder, and ignoring roster considerations for the moment, would you choose Estevan Florial or Trey Amburgey?

In this scenario, there’s no question for me — I’m calling up Amburgey. That’s not a dismissal of Florial’s accomplishments this year; I’m actually pleasantly surprised that he was able to elevate himself up to Triple-A as fast as he did, but he’s shown that he needs time to adjust to the different levels of the game. At .191/.290/.362 in 23 games, Florial’s time at Scranton has been a struggle, and I’d rather he focus on adapting there and getting his feet under him before jumping back up to the majors for another cup of coffee.

The 26-year-old Amburgey has had the development time in the upper-levels of the minors that Florial hasn’t had so far, even with the gap year that the pandemic introduced. Amburgey’s 2019 campaign with the RailRiders was promising, and his excellent start to this year (.365/.402/.703 in 20 games) has further improved his standing in the organization. The only things holding him back so far have been not being on the 40-man roster, and being injured during the brief stint where the Yankees needed a fill-in for the outfield and chose Florial. Take those out of the equation, and it becomes a lot simpler to give Amburgey a shot to prove he belongs.