Recently DFA'd outfielder has been absolutely crushing it since returning to Yankees
By Adam Weinrib
How much Willie Calhoun and Franchy Cordero do we have to watch before the Yankees decide to bestow a 40-man spot upon Estevan Florial once again?
The calculation was easier before Tuesday, when the Yankees used their empty roster spot on left-handed reliever Nick Ramirez. However, it seems safe to say that Ramirez is a stopgap, and will be DFA'd/upgraded upon at some point when the time is right.
Offense is a more pressing need for this Yankees team, at the moment, and based on Aaron Boone's comments this week, they're going to need to strike gold at some point with an unheralded option (Jake Bauers/Andres Chaparro) long before the trade market coalesces.
So why not Florial?
Odds are the Yankees never expected to get him back when they DFA'd him one game into the 2023 season to make room for Colten Brewer, but somehow, he persisted, clearing waivers and winding up back with the organization. Since losing his 40-man cred and arriving back at Triple-A, he's hit for power. He's shown off his speed. He's ... taken walks?!
Yankees' Estevan Florial might be Quad-A player, but he's also on fire
What's the worst-case scenario of elevating him? He goes 3-for-31 like he did last year? Well, Calhoun and Cordero are already doing that this season, so ... what else ya got?
Florial made his presence known immediately after returning to the organization, smacking two home runs in his "welcome back" game on April 11. Since then, he's walked 15 times, struck out 19, and stolen 7 bases. A .304 average and .475 OBP with a trio of homers definitely works.
He may not be a big-league regular. He may not even be a long-term solution for the bench. And, yes, the removal of his 40-man spot is hindering him like a scarlet letter (that reads "DFA"). But Florial is just as likely to make an impact as Calhoun and Cordero, which is why it felt so silly to panic-add Cordero on the verge of opening the season (then immediately less silly when he started homering, then pretty silly again when he stopped doing much of anything).
The best he can do is keep it up and keep the organization's eyes open.
Or, rather, some organization's eyes. After passing through waivers untouched, he now has 30 teams to prove wrong rather than just the Yankees.