Career after Yankees: Tracking ex-Yankees who said goodbye to the pinstripes

Ex-Yankees players Florial, Hicks, and Severino in pinstripes

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Home runs by ex-Yankees player Estevan Florial against his former team in two consecutive games are widely believed to be revenge for denying him a career in pinstripes. The outfielder, formerly a top Yankees prospect who faced challenges in New York, is now on Cleveland’s bench. This season, he has seen limited action, starting just four games and making a couple of appearances in the outfield.

The Yankees’ doubleheader on Saturday presented an opportunity for Florial. Facing two right-handed pitchers, Cleveland may lean towards starting him or giving him a chance as a substitute.

Although it’s still early in his time with Cleveland, Florial’s swing-heavy approach noted in scouting reports persists. The ex-Yankees player has struck out seven times in his first 16 plate appearances, registering at least one strikeout in each game. Overall, his batting average stands at a modest .143 with two hits in 14 at-bats, which includes a triple and two walks.

Florial’s persistent struggles with strikeouts, which plagued him throughout his eight years in the Yankees system, restricted his playing time. He managed just 134 plate appearances in a Yankees uniform between 2020 and 2023.

Ex-Yankees backstop Ben Rortvedt

While the Yankees’ catching tandem grapples with offensive struggles, Ben Rortvedt across the bay is shining for the Rays. Rortvedt holds a scorching .333 batting average (7 for 21) in his initial eight games with Tampa Bay, topping the team in On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS) at an impressive .869. This defensive standout behind the plate traded to the Rays from division rivals the Yankees before Opening Day, fell victim to New York’s crowded catching scenario and absence of minor-league assignment options.

Utility man Kiner-Falefa

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, a former Yankee now playing in the division, has taken on the role of everyday third baseman for the Blue Jays since joining Toronto last winter. He has begun the season impressively, hitting .306 (11-for-36) with a .819 OPS heading into Saturday’s game. The ex-Yankees even got a heart-warming welcome on his return to the Bronx.

Bronx favorite Gio

During the offseason, the New York Yankees considered re-signing third baseman Gio Urshela, but the defensively skilled infielder ultimately chose to join Detroit. Urshela has since been a formidable presence for the Tigers, maintaining an impressive batting average of .353 (12 hits in 34 at-bats) across 10 games.

How is Benintendi

Conversely, the Yankees’ decision to let outfielder Andrew Benintendi depart via free agency appears judicious in retrospect. In Chicago, Benintendi’s offensive impact has been minimal, largely limited to singles, with his advanced metrics showing little improvement. As the White Sox struggle in a competitive division, Benintendi’s hefty $75 million contract is starting to look burdensome. Currently, he holds a meager .140 batting average (7 hits in 50 at-bats) with just one extra-base hit in 13 games.

Deivi Garcia

Deivi Garcia, another ex-Yankees prospect, is now on the South Side of Chicago with the White Sox. Despite recently delivering back-to-back scoreless outings from the bullpen as of Friday night, his overall Earned Run Average remains elevated at 11.81, having surrendered seven earned runs across 5 1/3 innings pitched. This season presents a pivotal moment for García, potentially marking his first full campaign in Major League Baseball.

Players dealt to Athletics in 2023

This season, the Oakland Athletics have received an unexpected boost from a young arm acquired in the Rule 5 Draft: right-hander Mitch Spence. Through his three bullpen appearances thus far, Spence has impressed with an impressive 2.57 ERA.

This success adds intrigue to the Frankie Montas trade that the Yankees executed with Oakland last offseason (we’ll discuss this further later on). Three of the four players sent by the Yankees to the A’s in that deal remain on Oakland’s 40-man roster. Left-hander Ken Waldichuk and hard-throwing Luis Medina are currently sidelined due to injuries, along with former Yankees top prospect Miguel Andujar. However, southpaw JP Sears continues to hold a spot in the A’s starting rotation. Recently, he showcased dominance against the reigning champion Rangers in Texas, pitching 6 1/3 innings of one-hit ball and reducing his season ERA to 5.17.

Aaron Hicks

No discussion of former Yankees would be thorough without acknowledging Aaron Hicks. Hicks has shown signs of resurgence in the past week, recording two doubles in a win against the Red Sox on Friday. Despite this recent performance, his season batting average remains at .200 with an on-base plus slugging (OPS) of .594 over nine games.

Luis Severino and Harrison Bader

Mets fans were likely concerned after Luis Severino‘s rough first start last month, where he allowed six runs (three earned). However, he has turned things around by giving up only four hits over his last 10 innings, lowering his ERA to a respectable 3.00.

In this division, there are a couple of intriguing players acquired at the 2022 trade deadline. Center fielder Harrison Bader has started strong with the Mets, hitting a solid .282 with 11 hits in his first 39 at-bats. On the other hand, former Yankees outfielder Joey Gallo, now with the Nationals, continues to struggle with strikeouts, hitting three home runs and drawing eight walks but recording a concerning 18 strikeouts in just 12 games.

Montas and Sanchez in Milwaukee

Frankie Montas, acquired by the Reds at the 2022 deadline, made a notable appearance on Opening Day. He showcased dominance by pitching six scoreless innings and securing the win. Montas maintained his strong performance, earning another victory in his subsequent outing. Although he faced a setback against the Brewers recently, he still holds an impressive 2.16 ERA for the season thus far.

Gary Sanchez, the former Yankees catcher, finally found his rhythm in Milwaukee on Friday. After a slow start where he went hitless in his first 12 at-bats over five games, Sánchez broke through with a two-run homer at Camden Yards. He ended the night going 2-for-5 in a crucial Brewers victory, raising his batting average to .118 and OPS to .412.

Aroldis Chapman

Meanwhile, Aroldis Chapman, the ex-Yankees closer known for his success across different teams, continues to excel in a new city. Similar to his impressive stint with the Royals last year before joining the Rangers, Chapman is now thriving in the Pirates’ bullpen. He has been exceptional so far, pitching six scoreless appearances for Pittsburgh.

Ex-Yankees at Padres

The San Diego Padres showcase the highest number of former Yankees players after the blockbuster Juan Soto trade.

Starting pitcher Michael King made his fourth appearance for the Padres on Friday night. Unfortunately, it was a challenging outing against the Dodgers, yielding seven runs (four earned) and four home runs. However, his prior stellar performance against the Giants in San Francisco, where he threw seven shutout innings, helps maintain his ERA at a respectable 4.19.

While some former Yankees are excelling with the Padres, others are still adjusting. Right-hander Jhony Brito has faced challenges in relief appearances, posting a high 8.10 ERA over his first six outings. Backup catcher Kyle Higashioka has seen limited action, with just one hit in 11 at-bats across three games.

However, there is a bright spot. Relief pitcher Wandy Peralta, who joined San Diego as a free agent, has been outstanding. The energetic left-hander has been dominant, allowing only one earned run on two hits across his first eight appearances, showcasing an impressive 1.13 ERA.

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