The New York Yankees have played their best few games of the season just before their formal trade deadline line-in-the-sand to determine whether this flawed team will be buyers or sellers.
So, who stays? Who goes? Who’s the shortstop of the future?
Unfortunately, there’s almost no way to determine anything definitive from this team’s recent surge, unless you believe Greg Allen is the permanent solution to all of life’s problems. We’re inclined to agree with you, but the jury’s still out.
The problems for the Yankees’ trade deadline manifest are unfortunately two-fold. For years, this team has held onto prized prospects past their expiration date, tanking their values in real time. They always seem tentative to upgrade by cashing their chips in when, in reality, the “worst-case scenario” that’s unfolded recently has involved James Kaprielian finding is bearings four years after being dealt for Sonny Gray. Sorry, but that trade was actually prudent — it just didn’t work.
The second issue and flip side of this, though, is that the temptation becomes, “Oh, so holding prospects is bad? Fine. Dump ’em all. See if I care.” That’s … also wrong. The Yankees have to be measured. They shouldn’t sacrifice the entire farm (which is surging, by the way) to patch up a roster that almost sunk below .500 recently. They shouldn’t parlay any of their main (or secondary …) chips for pure rentals. They shouldn’t pull the plug on any supposed stars simply to shake things up (those stars can always spend a week or two as bench depth, if necessary!).
And they definitely, absolutely, 100% shouldn’t trade players who’ve only just started helping the team win games.
The Yankees will regret cashing out these 3 chips at the MLB Trade Deadline.
3. Estevan Florial
If the Miami Marlins end up wanting to buy instead of sell, perhaps they should upgrade by trading Starling Marte to the Yankees for Greg Allen or Estevan Florial?
Kidding. We think.
Florial arrived for his second 2021 stint in the Bronx on Tuesday and was immediately put to good use, whipping a home run into the short porch and making several productive outs, one of which scored Allen from third. The veteran speedster won’t be on the trade block (luckily), but theoretically, this 10-day stretch could be a showcase for Florial if he performs well.
Counterpoint, though: maybe you want to keep the 23-year-old who can play center field and is helping to get the season back on track? Perhaps he should start more games than Brett Gardner in the immediate future?
All season long, the Yanks have struggled to find any sort of functional outfield depth, with Clint Frazier and Miguel Andújar both apparently duds. Those two have gotten ample opportunities to prove they’re integral to the franchise’s future and they haven’t done so. Even though both men are near their lowest trade values, it would still behoove the team to clear them out. We know all we need to know.
That said … we’re not sure what Florial is yet, but he could be a solution to two of the team’s most pressing needs: a lefty bat who can play a speedy outfield and hit for power. Why showcase that when you need controllable stars to help reopen this contention window long-term?
Thus far, Florial looks a little like Deivi Garcia in 2020: middling numbers at Triple-A, but a breath of fresh air when they reach the bigs. Time to keep it that way past July 30.