The Yankees’ depth played a big part in their 2019 season, but they only tapped into the surface of their player base. The farm system, while not as vaunted as it was at its peak during the 2016 reboot season, still houses a good deal of talent and potential at the levels below. There isn’t room for most of them to make the major-league roster, however, and some may need to find a new home via trade in order to have a chance to flourish at the highest level.
Some players have made leaps that could draw the attention of other clubs, while others have potentially reached their peak value and would better serve the club’s overall future in the form of a trade chip for some immediate impact talent. If the Yankees can make a deal come together this offseason, there are some candidates they might prefer to send out.
Estevan Florial was once the prize of the Yankees’ prospect pool, and ranked in the top 50 prospect lists prior to 2018 in Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus. At the start of 2019, though, he was slightly outside the top 50 of two of those lists and entirely off of the top 100 from BA, and it was due in large part to his inability to play a full season.
Florial has played in over 100 games in just one of his five seasons in the minors, and he hasn’t been able to break past the Single-A level. Florial was once projected to be the future in center field, but with his stalling in the minors and the arrival of Jasson Dominguez as the new stud outfield prospect, it might be time to cut bait with Florial. He’ll turn 22 this month, so he could still develop into a major leauger and interest teams, but it’s hard to see him finding much time in the bigs with the Yankees.
Thairo Estrada played a small role for the Yankees in 2019, entering as the first big wave of injuries hit the team, and he filled in admirably during that stretch. Estrada slashed .250/.294/.438 in 69 plate appearances in the majors, but spent the majority of his time down in Triple-A Scranton. Estrada has the appeal of a plus-glove that can play multiple positions, but the Yankees are well-covered in the infield, even if they don’t bring back incumbent shortstop Didi Gregorius. Estrada isn’t a blue-chip prospect, but he should carry some value and could grease the wheels of a trade involving bigger names.
Likewise, Trey Amburgey has made strides toward MLB-ready status. Amburgey has been consistent with his development, spending each of the last three seasons climbing from Single-A to Triple-A and playing at least 120 games in each level. His stat line hasn’t suffered from the call-ups either, improving each year and posting a .274/.329/.494 mark in 2019 with 22 homers and 73 runs. He could be a capable major league outfielder and has played in all three positions, but likely projects to the corners where the Yankees have depth. If a team is interested in Amburgey’s rise and puts enough stock in him, the Yankees could have a decent second or third trade piece.
If the Yankees want to swing a deal for an impactful player, they’ll be pushed to include other players than this. Depending on who they target, they may or may not be smart to dip into the “untouchable” category that they’ve held onto. But if they can add value by sending out players that they don’t have clear futures with the team, they might be able to add to the big-league club in some way.