Estevan Florial of the Yankees looks on before a game against the Rays...

Estevan Florial of the Yankees looks on before a game against the Rays at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

How to best describe Wednesday’s flurry of roster moves by the Yankees? Tell us you’re pushing the panic button without telling us you’re pushing the panic button.

Because the Yankees would never come out and say they’re fresh out of ideas how to solve this nasty bit of losing that’s been going on lately, exacerbated by a stunningly-freakish inability to touch home plate. There’s only so many ways to rearrange the malfunctioning pieces in the lineup before admitting that OK, perhaps this is problem that simply trusting the process no longer was going to solve.

Which is why Oswaldo Cabrera and Estevan Florial, the No. 14 and 15 prospects in the Yankees’ farm system (as rated by MLB Pipeline) showed up Wednesday afternoon, just in time to be a part of the official team photo shoot. Minor-leaguers get shuttled back and forth frequently during the course of the season, but on most occasions, it’s about filling in for injured regulars.

But that’s not what happened Wednesday in summoning Cabrera and Florial. The Yankees dumped a pair of healthy players in Tim Locastro and Miguel Andujar in order to call up this new dynamic duo from Triple-A Scranton, with the unabashed Hail Mary hope they could inject some youthful energy into an otherwise lifeless roster.

Not on a part-time basis, either. Both were immediately written into Wednesday’s night lineup against the Rays -- Cabrera playing third base, hitting sixth, and Florial manning centerfield, batting eighth. Based on manager Aaron Boone’s comments, consider them semi-regulars going forward.

“I expect them to play and they’ll be in the mix,” Boone said. “We’ll just see going forward with matchups on a given day, but I would expect them to play a good amount.”

A decision of this magnitude, at this point of the season, is not standard operating procedure for the Yankees. Cabrera and Florial were both playing well for the RailRiders, but this has little to do with rewarding a pair of productive minor-leaguers. That comes during September’s roster expansion.

This was a Yankees’ cry for help. And with the Aug. 2 trade deadline in the rear-view mirror, they have limited places to find it, other than reaching for two would-be “sparks” down at Scranton. While we wouldn’t call the Yankees desperate, they’ve definitely been trending in the wrong direction, having scored one run in their past 25 innings and Tuesday night’s loss was their 11th in 13 games.

As for that seemingly bulletproof division lead? The Rays knocked it down to nine games, the lowest it’s been since June 15. The offensive malaise is certainly disturbing and posting the AL’s second-worst record (8-17) since the All-Star break is shocking. But losing ground in the East, along with falling further behind the Astros (2 1/2 for the AL’s best record) is the real wake-up call. That slide has to stop. Now it falls on Cabrera and Florial to help put on the brakes.

Cabrera, who is making his MLB debut, was raking at Scranton over his last 20 games, hitting .382 (29-for-76) with five home runs and a 1.145 OPS. He’s mostly played second base, but also can handle shortstop, third and leftfield, so Boone has the option to moved him around. Florial has been up with the Yankees before, but used sporadically for a total of 16 games over the past three seasons, hitting .206 with one homer and a .678 OPS.

This the first time, however, that the Yankees have asked a pair of twenty-something minor-leaguers to essentially revive their comatose lineup. Boone tried to steer the pregame conversation away from such a characterization, but how can it be viewed in any other fashion? Cabrera replaced the skidding Josh Donaldson, who was bounced to DH for Wednesday night’s game, and Florial was yet another not-to-subtle signal to the lost Aaron Hicks that he had run out of chances in pinstripes.

Ideally, the Yankees don’t want to put any additional pressure on call-ups. The pinstripes are heavy enough. But here in mid-August, with the team attempting to fend off any suggestion of a late-season collapse, this is a potentially rough assignment. Cabrera and Florial are unapologetically being tossed into the deep end of the pennant-race pool.

“We’ll try and create that environment we talk about all the time, where it’s just kind of business as usual,” Boone said. “Try and get them as acclimated and as comfortable as possible in their surroundings. No one’s expecting or counting on them being the revelation that turns us around.”

Well, the Yankees weren’t showing any signs of doing it beforehand. And if they did have faith in the rest of the roster, GM Brian Cashman wouldn’t have placed that call to Scranton. Panic? The Yankees can spin it however they choose. But the two new faces in Wednesday night’s lineup signified their process was taking a drastic turn in a different direction.