Let’s rewind to July. The Yankees were just beginning their tumble, but the hot start show this team had potential. No one thought of them World Series favorites or anything like that, just that they were different from the last few years. The team had holes but the window was only opening. This was a team worth investing in.
These Yankees likely won’t win anything this year, but they could. If not in 2017, they very well could in the next few seasons. They have an excellent young core built around Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, and Clint Frazier. That said, they still had some weaknesses. Brian Cashman looked to the future and then he saw the current team. He decided to make a move, one that would not only help now, but tomorrow as well.
The Yankees traded Jorge Mateo, James Kaprielian, and Dustin Fowler to the A’s in exchange for Sonny Gray. The rumors had been swirling for a while at that point. First it was Jose Quintana, who would have cost at least one of Gleyber Torres or Clint Frazier. Once it became clear that Cashman wasn’t paying that steep of a price, the attention shifted to Gray.
He had ace potential, but an injury-driven down year dropped his value. He was someone that Cashman had the pieces to get, with the benefit of not surrendering top pieces. As always, the Yankees General Manager got his man. Some say he paid a steep price, but he essentially only gave up players that didn’t have a future here.
Gregorius, Starlin Castro, and Gleyber Torres blocked Mateo. Judge, Red Thunder, the absurd contract given to Jacoby Ellsbury and the emergence of Estevan Florial blocked Fowler. Kaprielian, AKA the “Caged Bull”, might never be healthy. In return? The Yankees landed a possible ace.
Stop rewinding now. We can jump back to today. Gray has made eight starts with the Yankees. So far? He’s been everything the Yankees could have asked for, and then some. Luis Severino is the clear ace of the team, but Gray is just behind him. He’s been as good or better than advertised. In those eight starts, he has a 60 ERA- (2.66 ERA). His most recent outing might have been his best.
He gave up two runs over the course of a complete game. He took the loss on a night when the offense did him no favors. Of course there are still those who might complain. They’ll point to the wins. They’ll point to how the Yankees have only gone 3-5 in his eight starts, even if that’s beyond his control. He’s done everything he can to keep the team in games. It’s not his fault the Yankees’ offense scored one run or less in those five losses.
The fact is Gray has been exactly what the Yankees needed: a frontline starter to pair with Severino. The best part is that he’s not just around this year, but for two more after this. Sure, thee team gave away some top pieces with big potential, but they got an ace in return.
Fortunately, the Yankees have Cashman at the helm. He kept his top prospects and dealt pieces that were essentially blocked. In return, Gray has provided stability to the rotation and squashed any doubts about the trade. Since coming to the Yankees, Sonny has been an absolute delight.