Sonny Gray was what the Yankees needed and it means bright days in the Bronx. Because the Yankees have done the unexpected this year it is obvious why this was a move that had to be made at the expense of three more of their minor league prospects. This just about assures that the Yankees will see “sunny” days in their quest for October.
And this move at the trade deadline also assures one thing, and the only one that GM Brian Cashman knew, that the Yankees are not in this for the wild card. The quest to October is winning the Al East and moving further in the postseason in a year that was supposed to be a rebuilding mode and looking at 2018 and beyond.
So before Yankees fans panic about that future leaving town, think again because Gray solidifies that quest of being a contender and not a pretender.
Last year at the deadline, Cashman was a seller and not a buyer and that alone got the Yankees to this point. And it only takes one or two more additions to assure that the Yankees are in this to win and this year.
Not next year, and one look at the standings is enough evidence to tell why Gray was on the radar and why the Yankees GM stayed with this and did not surrender the youth and solid core that also gave them the chips to trade and get a valuable starter that was needed for their rotation.
“Huge move and a no-brainer,” said a longtime baseball executive. “Gray is solid, gives them depth and what they gave up to get him will not make a difference.” He also said that the key principles in the deal going to Oakland would not be Major League ready, meaning Oakland with a youth movement would be better served and the Yankees are stocked with those available prospects in what has become a deep minor league system.
Last year Cashman dealt Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees got younger, more athletic, and that minor league system was reloaded. He reinforced areas that were needed with this deadline and Sonny Gray was the big one.
And with the loss of Michael Pineda, Tommy John Surgery and in a walk-year of his contract, the Yankees got their fifth starter. There is that ability to go with six if manager Joe Girardi sticks with the rookie Jordan Montgomery who had the shortest outing of his career against the Rays Sunday afternoon.
Gray gives the Yankees a better shot at October, and as the division winner. And with more depth in acquiring lefty Jaime Garcia, Girardi has six starters for five starts. Look at Garcia as the backup plan had the Yankees failed to land Gray.
But the Yankees got their pitcher and don’t they always when they are in this position? It’s the Yankees motto to win, and again, they are in that position to win and Gray gives them that shot to win a division title and go far into October and feel confident with Luis Severino, who would be the number one starter in a potential playoff series.
CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka are showing no signs of falling apart and add Gray to what gives the Yankees a solid rotation.
You can’t fault the Yankees for giving away some of their future. They are in to win it now and had the tools to do it. Because of that minor league system, and Billy Beane the perfect trading partner who believes in making moves like this, Gray is a New York Yankee and the best part he is under team control.
“We lost three quality players,” Cashman said at Yankee Stadium Monday afternoon. “But developed others who are the ones that will make an impact with tremendous careers.”
Out of the three that went to Oakland, Cashman made mention of 22-year old Dustin Fowler who suffered a ruptured right patellar tendon in the first inning of his Major League debut last month at Yankee Stadium. He was a jewel in the system but became a good chip to get Gray.
“Fowler was the tough decision to make,” he said. “ It was a risk worth taking.” And with the Yankees in their position, it’s back to what they do best and taking a risk as they are in it to win.
Cashman protected a core group in Gleyber Torres, Justus Sheffield and Estevan Flororial. Also, pitcher Chance Adams who has the ability be a part of the starting rotation next year or a trade chip down the line.
Clint Frazier, he’s here, and and though the at bats have been inconsistent as of late, this is one of the core. Sheffield, another untouchable that throws hard is part of this core group that came in the deal for Andrew Miller at the deadline last year.
The 21-year old James Kaprielian went under Tommy John Surgery on his right elbow in April, and was one of those untouchables. But, he and Fowler were the two chips needed to deliver Gray. Cashman, a good seller, sold the plan.
As for the 22-year old Jorge Mateo, once a highly touted and untouchable prospect, he was expendable because the Yankees are rich with infield prospects with Torres ,who is expected to recover and be a part of this new core.
Mateo was thought to be in the plan. As reported here last week, the latest scouting report was his quick bat, disciplined at the plate, and maturing to be an all-star with a style of play and tools to Javier Baez of the Cubs. He was a quality trade chip and Cashman, as always in his long tenure as the GM, had the tool to trade.
Said Cashman, “We have a nice feel in the clubhouse. Those guys are battlers.” What makes it better is a team that got necessary reinforcements last week with Todd Frazier, and David Robertson in the bullpen.
“Getting guys like that make the mix much better,” said Cashman. And Sonny Gray makes the chances now that much better for the Yankees to go deep into October.
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