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Yankees Mailbag: outfield concerns, Juan Soto rumors, and contemplating a Cortes extension

The mailbag covers all its corners considering the outfield situation this week.

Texas Rangers v New York Yankees - Game One Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Good afternoon everyone, it’s time for another edition of the mailbag. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

larry s asks: Shouldn’t the Yankees look to trade Gallo or Hicks and promote Florial? He is just as productive as either of those two, and brings more energy and athleticism to the club.

We got a lot of questions about Aaron Hicks this week — it seems that he has become the hate vessel for a lot of fans of late since he’s one of the few truly struggling players on an otherwise elite team. I get that Gallo has been mostly cold for the team, and it is concerning how his defense has dipped this year as well, but I think he’s safe to play through the year — he’s shown the potential to get out of the doldrums, and has the power to stick around. Hicks, however, could be playing for a roster spot at this rate.

That being said, I don’t think a change is imminent, and I chose this question among the bunch specifically to address the internal options. It’s basically just Estevan Florial at the moment, and I don’t think the team would be willing to shake things up to bring up the 24-year-old any time soon. Aside from some random stints of joining the big-league team for doubleheaders, Florial lacks experience against upper-level competition — he made his first appearance in Double-A at the start of last year, got hot and got promoted to Triple-A where he stalled out for a while.

Florial started this year back at Triple-A and has gotten decent results, but given how long its taken him to get to the top half of the minors it stands to reason that the team wants to give him some time to prove that he’d be ready for a callup. It wouldn’t do to shake up the locker room by benching Hicks just for a lateral move if Florial isn’t ready, and I think the only argument you could make at the moment for it is for better defense which the Yankees aren’t as desperate for as they were last year. That being said ...

The idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: Juan Soto — if he becomes available before the deadline, how hard should the Yankees push for him? What package can they possibly put together for him? And, OMG how great could this offense be with Judge, Soto, Stanton, Rizzo, Donaldson batting 2-6? Soto would give the Yankees Judge insurance, as potent a lefty bat as you can ask for, and he’s only 23 years old!

So, let’s go over some facts real quick — Juan Soto has two more years of arbitration remaining, but is on a terrible Washington team that may not be able to rebuild around him in time and is already making $17 million, so they could be looking to deal him. Soto is undeniably one of the best hitters in baseball and a top-tier center fielder. Any potential deal for Soto would be a massive blockbuster, likely costing multiple top-100 prospects as well as other top organizational prospects — a price that the Yankees likely couldn’t match if other teams are offering.

All of that being said? If he’s available, the Yankees should push all their chips in to get him. Volpe, Dominguez, Peraza? Put any of them on the table, pair them up, hell even offer all three. You simply won’t be able to match the production that you’d get from inserting Juan Soto to this lineup, and you definitely wouldn’t want one of your main competitors getting him instead of you. At the very least, even if you straight up don’t have the prospect pool to afford trading for Soto, you have to at least push the price up for other bidders.

workermonkey781 asks: Is it worth buying out Nestor Cortes’s arbitration years now? if he keeps this up for another year or two he’s going to be really expensive right?

I don’t think this would be necessary yet, though if Cortes is open to a favorable deal I don’t see why the Yankees wouldn’t consider it. Cortes is only entering his first year of arbitration next year, and given his prior track record he likely won’t be getting a massive raise until the second or third year of arbitration. The last two extensions that the Yankees gave out — to Luis Severino and Hicks respectively — didn’t work out the way the team thought they would, but that’s no reason to downplay the thought of a different extension.