Did the Yankees trade former top-10 prospect Estevan Florial at his peak value? Most certainly not. At the very least, though, New York parlayed a distressed asset they wanted nothing to do with into a player Baseball America is more than a bit intrigued by.
At first blush, the Yankees' post-Christmas swap of Florial for Guardians right-hander Cody Morris seemed to signal a number of things. Would this be the end of the Yankees' Shane Bieber pursuit, or could they pick up the phone to Cleveland once again? Did they view Morris as a starter? Did his 2023 regression undo his 2022 emergence? At the very least, it seemed the Yankees had acquired a high-ceiling, controllable arm to ride the Scranton Shuttle, but potentially might've uncovered something more, all in exchange for a Triple-A masher they didn't feel comfortable carrying on the 40-man.
Baseball America's brand new Yankees top 30 certainly seems to believe in Morris' potency, sneaking him in at No. 27. Clearly, BA saw a lot to like in the righty's 30 Ks in 15.1 Triple-A innings in 2022.
Either that, or they watched him carve up the heart of the Yankees order in the '22 ALDS.
Yankees stole top-30 prospect from Guardians in Estevan Florial trade
Morris, along with fellow import Cody Poteet and 2023 returnee Luke Weaver, will likely be tasked with handling multi-inning duty and the occasional start if he manages to make the active roster. The righty's history as a starter, remaining minor-league options, and -- yes -- collegiate tenure as a South Carolina Gamecock all make him an excellent fit in the Bronx.
There's certainly a chance Florial makes an impression in Cleveland, too, to be fair. The Guardians have been looking for power and speed in the outfield since the days of a young Manny Ramirez, and Florial provided that at the highest levels of the minors last season.
Crucially, though, he was not in the Yankees' plans, as New York insisted with both their words and actions in 2022 and '23. Morris makes more sense for their roster, and has already ingratiated himself into the system -- according to the team's actions and the experts' words.