NEW YORK — In the midst of what's been a perpetual roller-coaster ride, a roster move could help the Yankees, a club desperately in search of a spark.
As much as an external option may provide the biggest jolt—making a statement by trading for a proven asset at the big-league level—general manager Brian Cashman has made it clear that the trade market likely won't begin to heat up until after next month's MLB Draft.
If that's the case, and New York elects to stand pat until closer to the Trade Deadline, then these two internal moves—in the form of promotions from Triple-A—will suffice.
Hoy Jun Park and Trey Amburgey have both blossomed with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders to start this season, striding closer and closer to their respective Major League debuts.
Park, a middle infielder, has posted video-game numbers offensively. The 25-year-old is leading all of Triple-A with a stellar 1.134 OPS, batting .360 with seven home runs, 33 runs scored and 23 RBI over his first 30 games.
New York even started giving Park some playing time in center field in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, possibly a sign that he's being tested for a role in the outfield at the next level.
"That's been in the toolbox for the last couple years, he has worked a little bit out there. So that's part of his skill set," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said last week. "Obviously, he's doing very well down there."
Versatility aside, with the way Park is swinging it, it sure seems like his bat will play in pinstripes.
As for Amburgey, the 26-year-old is batting .356/.407/.663 with six homers and 34 RBI in 27 games. A brief stint on the injured list keeps him off the leaderboard for qualified players across Triple-A, but his numbers are also up there with some of the best prospects in all of baseball.
Amburgey is a name you might recognize from spring training these last several years as well. The outfielder has appeared in 10-plus games during Grapefruit League play with the big-league club in each of the last four seasons.
If those numbers aren't enough to convince you, Amburgey's ability to get on base consistently resulted in an update to the RailRiders' franchise history books not too long ago.
On paper, both these players make sense and can help the Yankees if called up.
Park is a lefty with sneaky pop, able to provide some balance in a righty-heavy lineup while bringing speed and defensive versatility. That's what New York has been seeking from the likes of Rougned Odor and Tyler Wade off the bench this season, one of the many sources of underperforming assets on this roster.
With a clear need to address the outfield, Amburgey would at least be a fresh face to switch things up. Clint Frazier continues to regress, often looking lost at the plate, while Miguel Andújar has shows flashes on offense, but still has a lot of room to grow on defense in left field. Plus, Brett Gardner has struggled mightily to produce in his age-37 season, getting quite a bit of playing time once Aaron Hicks went down with season-ending wrist surgery.
The issue lies in the corresponding moves and finding spots for those two players on the roster. Could the Yankees demote someone like Frazier (or even designate a player for assignment) to set the tone, demonstrating that lack of production won't cut it?
Even then, room would need to be made on the 40-man roster before those two prospects can get to the Bronx. Estevan Florial and Chris Gittens are already on the 40-man and could be options as well, but we've already seen them in the big leagues this season (even if it was only one game for Florial).
Amburgey and Park have done their part. There's only so much they can do, tearing the cover off the ball in Triple-A while big-league hitters continue season-long slumps on the Yankees.
The only question remaining is how comfortable Boone, Cashman and the Yankees are with this current group as New York digs themselves deeper into a hole in the American League East.
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