How much time should the Cleveland Guardians give Estevan Florial?

Cleveland Guardians Photo Day
Cleveland Guardians Photo Day / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

When it was announced that Estevan Florial would be part of the Cleveland Guardians' Opening Day roster, it came as a bit of a shock. Not because of Florial being given a chance ahead of highly-regarded outfield prospect Chase DeLauter, but for a few different reasons.

First off, Florial has not accomplished really anything of note in this limited time in the majors. The former New York Yankee has 134 plate appearances across four seasons, and only seven of his 24 career hits have gone for extra-bases, one of which was a home run. It is the last part that truly matters here. Cleveland needs home runs in the worst way, and getting some more production in that department from the outfield is at the top of that list. While completely basing Florial's potential future production with a limited amount of time in the majors is not necessarily fair, more than one home run to his name would be a little more encouraging to see, and that also brings us to another point. Florial's performance in Spring Training this year.

It has been a rough go of things for Florial in Arizona. The 26-year-old outfielder has just eight hits in 58 plate appearances, four singles with one double. Florial's .154 batting average is bad enough, but it is the 24 strikeouts that are alarming. Striking out 41.4% of the time is far from acceptable and makes it more difficult to justify his spot on the roster, given his current home run output in spring (zero). It would be different and much more comforting if Florial had a few more hits, specifically home runs, as it would show some potential to contribute once the regular season begins, but that is not the case.

So, how long will Florial remain with the organization? That is a tough question to answer. The Guardians have shown their willingness to let individuals play themselves off the roster, and it is easy to see them taking a similar approach with Florial. The front office is adamant about keeping DeLauter down in the minors to start the year (service time manipulation, anyone?), and they will more than likely give Florial plenty of chances during that time. Even if Florial is a complete disaster (a very likely outcome) and is removed from the equation early, there is still a chance that someone else could be brought up instead of DeLauter (Myles Straw?).

While many have been quick to point to Florial's track record in the minors as a reason for hope, it has not translated during his brief time in the majors. Additionally, there is a reason why the Yankees were quick to turn to other options in the outfield over Florial, including a couple of Cleveland castoffs in Jake Bauers and Greg Allen, and it is not because they are outstanding baseball players. Barring a complete career turnaround, it seems like it is only a matter of time before Florial joins Bauers and Allen as former baseball players in Cleveland and another player is brought into the mix.