For months and months, the Yankees trotted out almost every conceivable outfielder from within their organization and outside of it rather than trying Estevan Florial one more time. It’s hard to imagine now, but he was actually on the Opening Day roster. He pinch-ran and entered as a defensive replacement. The next day, the 25-year-old was designated for assignment since the team had signed Franchy Cordero and also wanted to make room for a reliever who was not long for the roster, either (Colten Brewer).
Although there was some thought that a second-division team might claim Florial to give him a chance, he cleared waivers and reported to Triple-A Scranton. He still demonstrated some of the concerning strikeout tendencies (29.9 percent) that made other teams hesitate to claim him and the Yankees reluctant to try him, but the steady center fielder also hit .284/.380/.565 with 28 homers, 25 stolen bases, and a 129 wRC+. Florial did what he could, but the Yankees still elected to roll out the likes of Cordero, Willie Calhoun, Greg Allen, Jake Bauers, and Billy McKinney instead of him while also leapfrogging Everson Pereira and Jasson Domínguez over Florial.
The latter two were more understandable since they are younger and more likely to play a role in the Yankees’ future. But it got to be tedious that the Yankees flat-out refused to try Florial rather than even one or two of those Quad-A veterans.
Fate has finally forced the Yankees’ hand. With Domínguez heading to the IL and likely Tommy John surgery with a torn UCL, Harrison Bader waived to the Reds, Cordero unable to play center, Calhoun and Allen long gone, and McKinney still injured as well, New York gave in and promoted Florial.
Prior to tonight’s game, the Yankees made the following roster moves:— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) September 11, 2023
•Selected OF Estevan Florial (#90) to the 28-man roster from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
•Placed OF Jasson Domínguez on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to 9/10) with a right UCL tear.
You won’t find many true Florial believers on the PSA staff, but at this point, it would be completely unfair to him to not offer some run as this lost 2023 campaign comes to a close. Unless the Yankees go against expectations and elect to keep him on the 40-man roster beyond the next few weeks, he will hit minor league free agency. If this three-week cameo gives the former top prospect some ammunition that could help him land a job elsewhere for 2024, then why not? And hell, if he makes a case to at least be a bench player next year, then all the better. Florial’s had the Triple-A season to deserve it.
So we’re happy for the guy regardless. It’s just a shame that 1) It took so long; and 2) It took the awful circumstance of Domínguez’s injury to make it happen.