The Cleveland Guardians made a potentially impactful trade this week.
They agreed to send right-handed pitcher Cody Morris to the New York Yankees in exchange for outfielder Estevan Florial.
Considering how their current rosters are constructed and their needs at the moment, it’s a deal that makes plenty of sense for both sides.
The Yankees could use some pitching depth, and the Guardians badly needed an outfielder with potential.
Florial, despite a mediocre .209/.313/.296 line and a .609 OPS in 134 plate appearances over four seasons in the Bronx, has a considerable ceiling.
Thomas Nestico explained some of this potential while analyzing some key numbers.
“Estevan Florial was exceptional in AAA last season. He put up elite offensive numbers and sat near the top of the league in all batted ball metrics. His biggest flaw is his contact issues, as he ran a 29.7 K% and 35.6 Whiff% despite the great offensive production,” he tweeted.
Estevan Florial was exceptional in AAA last season. He put up elite offensive numbers and sat near the top of the league in all batted ball metrics.
— Thomas Nestico (@TJStats) December 26, 2023
Making consistent contact is a problem that has prevented Florial from getting consistent playing time in the majors to this point.
This is why the Yankees considered him expendable.
However, it’s also important to point out that he had a truly majestic season in Triple-A.
There, he slashed .284/.380/.565 with 28 home runs and 25 stolen bases.
It’s unlikely he reaches those heights in MLB, but can you imagine those numbers by someone patrolling the outfield for the Guardians?
Cleveland hopes to work with Florial to help him overcome his issues with breaking balls and with contact, in general.
He has good defense, an athletic profile, and an ability to take walks as things to fall back on.
His floor is certainly low, but the upside here is considerable and that’s what the deal was all about for Cleveland.