A once-promising future in pinstripes may have come to an end on Saturday afternoon.
The Yankees designated former top prospect Estevan Florial for assignment. The 25-year-old was out of minor-league options as the Yankees had to clear the way to have an even 13 position players and 13 pitchers on the 26-man roster.
Florial was the odd man out.
“[The conversation with Florial was] difficult,” said manager Aaron Boone before Saturday afternoon’s game against the Giants at the Stadium. “In some ways [it was] a little sad. We’ve been through a lot with Flo, such a great kid. The one thing that I tried to remind him and encourage him of is he’s still a young man with a ton of talent.
“Whatever happens here over the next few days moving forward, we’ll see, but yeah, tough conversation.”
The Dominican native can be traded within the next seven days and if he’s not he will be placed on waivers for any team to pick him. If he clears waivers, he could return to the organization and accept a minor league assignment or reject it and become a free agent.
The outfielder was in competition this spring to remain with the organization as a fourth outfielder, however, his defensive prowess and speed were not enough to overcome his .167/.286/.262 spring slash line in 42 at-bats.
Florial played just 30 games in his career at the big-league level for the Yanks — including Saturday’s cameo where he came in for Giancarlo Stanton as a pinch runner and defensive replacement.
“If we knew [why it didn’t work out], we’d be in a different place,” said Boone. “But again, it’s a tough game, it could absolutely still happen for Flo. He put together a good Triple-A season [last year].
“He had some of his development in the last several years, probably some key points in his development where he missed a couple of years in a row and probably hurt him a little bit just from an experience and important development phase.”
Florial ranked as the Bombers’ No. 2 prospect in 2018 and No. 1 in 2019, according to MLB pipeline.
For the second straight game, the Bombers went with the same lineup configuration which left Aaron Hicks and Isiah Kiner-Falefa on the bench.
With all of the attention garnered by the shortstop battle this spring, there appeared to have been a competition in left field as well that seemed to have declared Oswaldo Cabrera the winner.
Despite not seeing his name on the lineup card in the early going, Hicks is still expected to play a role for Boone’s club this season.
“Hicks will get in there too against certain righties and things,” Boone said. “But I feel like Oswaldo is going to play a ton for us this year and his role may evolve. I see Aaron [Hicks] playing a lot of outfield for us too.”
Kiner-Falefa is also still in play but in a much different capacity than he did last season when he played 138 games at shortstop. Anthony Volpe’s emergence has pushed the 28-year-old into a utility-bench role.
“I don’t know [how often Kiner-Falefa will play],” Boone said. “You could see him in the outfield [Sunday]. I’m sure there will be a day where I give Volpe a day and he’ll be in there, but I see him as a part of that outfield mix right now and as that kind of weapon off the bench.”
Reinforcements are beginning to materialize early on in the season.
Luis Severino began throwing as he rehabs from a lat injury suffered in the last days of spring training. The 29-year-old had a light throwing session on Friday and came in on Saturday asymptomatic as he begins to ramp up for a crucial contract season.
From the rotation to the bullpen, Tommy Kahnle (biceps tendinitis) and Lou Trivino (right elbow ligament sprain) are both inching closer to returning.
Kahnle will begin to throw this upcoming week and Trivino — who Boone said they are building up slower by design due to the nature of his injury — threw off of a mound on Saturday.
Outfielder Harrison Bader could begin swinging a bat as soon as next week as he received good news from an MRI a few days ago, per Boone. The gold glover is currently on the 15-day IL with a low-grade oblique strain.
The Yankees signed right-handed Colten Brewer to a major league contract and selected him to the active roster. Brewer has a career 5.04 ERA in 81 appearances with the Red Sox and Padres.