The Yankees have traded former vaunted outfield prospect Estevan Florial to the Cleveland Guardians, the team announced Tuesday. In return, right-handed pitcher Cody Morris was sent to New York.
The New York Yankees today announced that they have acquired RHP Cody Morris from the Cleveland Guardians in exchange for OF Estevan Florial.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) December 26, 2023
The lefty-swinging Florial never managed to catch on with the big league club and was out of minor league options. In Cleveland, he figures to compete for a starting job alongside Myles Straw and Will Brennan.
Florial hit .269 with 102 home runs and 150 steals in eight minor league seasons, all in the Yankees organization. The downside is that he also has 889 strikeouts over that stretch, and the whiffs have followed him to MLB.
In 48 MLB games spread out over four seasons, Estevan Florial has hit just .209 with a single home run and 41 strikeouts compared to 15 walks. He’ll get plenty more opportunities in Cleveland under new manager Stephen Vogt.
On the Yankees’ end, the 27-year-old Morris played college ball at South Carolina and was Cleveland’s seventh-round pick in 2018. He split last season between Double and Triple-A, posting a 3.23 ERA in 21 games (four starts). Morris has also made 13 MLB appearances since 2022, posting a 3.41 ERA.
In six games in 2023, Morris had a 6.75 ERA out of the bullpen.
Every Yankees fan knows what this means. General manager Brian Cashman sees a former college arm and is already building next year’s bullpen. Morris should fit into that role nicely, as he throws a fastball, cutter, and curveball. He also adds a changeup from time to time.
The velocity is definitely there too. Morris’ fastball averaged at 95.3 mph last season and his cutter borders 89 mph. This is someone who can easily slot into a Lou Trivino-type role, particularly after the veteran righty missed last year with Tommy John surgery.
There was indeed a time where the Yankees could have turned Estevan Florial into a blockbuster acquisition. Instead, he can help boost a beleaguered pitching staff.