When the trade deadline came and went on August 1, the Yankees sat at 52-52. They had just lost four in a row, and were 5.5 games out of the second Wild Card. Their run differential sat at -33. For all of this, the Yankees became sellers for the first time in my life as a baseball fan. Aroldis Chapman was dealt just before the four game slide, and Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran were shipped off just after. Alex Rodriguez retired less than two weeks later. And so began the wait for 2017.
But something special happened - the team became competitive. They went 32-26 over the remainder of the season (an 89 win pace), and were in striking distance of the playoffs for much of September. A team that struggled to stay above .500 ended up in contention for the Wild Card until late in the evening on Thursday, September 29th - not too long after sweeping the first place Red Sox. It was exciting, wasn't it?
It is not yet the time to look into just how this happened. The Yankees off-season has just begun, and the contributions of Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, Masahiro Tanaka, Dellin Betances, and co. deserve much more time and examination than I can put forth right now. There were moments of brilliance from rookies, journeyman, stars, and most everyone in between, and we saw flashes of what may well be the foundation of the next great team in the Bronx. This, of course, ignores the fact that they also have one of the five or six best farm systems in the game (and the 17th pick in next year's draft). And, in another post-season without the Yankees, it'd be difficult to ask for much more.
The most in-depth that I am willing to go right now is to say this: it was a hell of a ride.