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Yankees Mailbag: The infield shuffle and Florial’s options

Let’s take on some pre-spring training conversations in this week’s mailbag.

2022 New York Yankees Archive Photo by New York Yankees/Getty Images

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

jshep12 asks: Florial has no options left. What’s the most realistic outcome, from 1-5, come Opening Day … 1) Starting LF 2) On the roster on the bench 3) Traded prior to Opening Day 4) DFAed, signed off waivers by other team, 5) DFAed, makes it through waivers, back in Scranton.

Let’s break this down, shall we? I think the likeliest option of the bunch is that he starts the year on the bench, due simply to the lack of relevant outfield depth currently on the team. Assuming Hicks is the starter in left field Florial would be up there with Oswaldo Cabrera for backing him up (and Florial would likely be entrusted with some spot starts in center as well, whereas Cabrera wouldn’t).

If Cabrera wins out the starting left fielder job, then it becomes more complicated. A Hicks trade is highly unlikely at this point, pushing him down to the fourth outfielder role, and then Florial’s spot becomes a bit redundant. An outright DFA doesn’t seem like it’s in Brian Cashman’s style, because while Florial may be stalled out in the Yankees’ org he still has some prospect luster with a decent year in Triple-A last season. On top of that, he’s still just 25-years-old despite being around in the system for years — he’s shown that he’s a slow riser, but once he settles into a level he finds his way. Because of all of this, I’ll put a trade, a starting role, and the two DFA options in slots 2-5 (with him making it through waivers as the least likely option).

Ronald Po asks: What do you think about switching Gleyber Torres to left field if Peraza, Cabrera and Volpe all make the team during 2023? John R. also asks: Are we better off putting Volpe in left field, temporarily, rather than trade the Martian for a veteran for half a season?

I’m putting these two questions together since they hit on a very similar theme. I don’t think I buy into the idea of pushing either Torres or Volpe into left field when there’s a current option in the midst of the infield mix that can play the position adequately already. Of course, I’m referring to Oswaldo Cabrera, who may not be a natural outfielder but showcased a solid arm out in left field for the stint that he had to play there.

Now, the argument for one of the other infielders being flexed out into the outfield would be that it enables Cabrera to be efficiently used around the infield, but I’m less concerned with this if the entire plethora of middle infielders are with the major league team. Should Volpe not be with the team then the positional glut becomes more rigid, but with all of the options on the table between Volpe, Peraza, Cabrera, Torres, and DJ LeMahieu there shouldn’t be a major concern about shuffling them around. I worry about playing Torres out of position as his strength throughout his career has come from his bat, and with a blue-chip prospect like Volpe I’d rather let them come up at their natural position.

The idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: What’s going to happen to Deivi García? No minor league options remain. He was once a top Yankee prospect. He hasn’t been good at throwing a baseball for a long time now.

At this point, unless he makes a major rebound this year I don’t see why he would be kept on the 40-man roster. His prospect status has torpedoed in rapid succession, and after two straight years where he has been downright awful and unable to find any consistency there’s not much hope to go off of here. It’s a shame, but whatever the Yankees did with his development after 2020 fundamentally broke him, and despite their success in finding a lot of surplus value from multiple arms the organization simply has not been able to reverse the tide in his career arc.