There might be a few quick hits on the trade appearing on these pages in the coming hours and days.
We're also working on a podcast with our exemplary staff.
Here's my perspective - I LOVE IT!
For too many years I have felt that the Yankees have been content to just see what happens, but to not go for it. We have seen many big names get linked to the Yankees, but we've also seen the Yankees fail to land the big player - or the potential difference maker. I'm not here to research and rehash all of those old discussions.
Further, I was thrilled last year when the Yankees used the trade chips they had to rebuild their farm system. The results of last year's selling are paying dividends today - at least indirectly.
What I love about today's big SONNY GRAY! (excuse, me, at least for now, when I write or say that player's name, I need to jump and shout for joy) trade is that, this year, finally, the Yankees are going for it!
What I love about today's SONNY GRAY! (sorry...) trade is that the Yankees are going for it, but not, at the same time, mortgaging their immediate future.
When the 2017 season began, there was a lot of anticipation among Yankees fans that this would be a fun year watching a new core be introduced and grow together. For me, this felt like 1994 or 1995 - the future promise was there, but it didn't feel like the time was quite right.
But, the outstanding play of so many, and the fact that after a horrendous stretch, they have rebounded and are actually in first place has made believers of me. I have high hopes for this team in 2017, but even more in 2018 and 2019. And, from my perspective, this trade helps meet all of those ends.
When healthy, SONNY GRAY! (Ok, I'll stop) is a top-rate pitcher. He's an anchor. He could be a difference maker in 2017, but even if the Yankees fall short, he and Luis Severino combine to be a very strong 1 and 2 punch in the rotation for the next few years at least.
I am all in favor of trading prospects for high-end, young, controllable talent. That's what Sonny Gray is. He'll help the team today - and tomorrow. From my perspective at least, that makes the trade a good one.
But, you ask, what did they give up?
James Kaprielian - I know scouts are very high on Kaprielian. He has a world of talent. But, in his short time as a professional, he has been hurt twice, went through Tommy John surgery, and is a question mark (a question mark with very high potential) going forward. At best, Kaprielian is a pitcher for tomorrow. The Yankees need a pitcher today - and they got one. One who can also help tomorrow. Kaprielian has lost two precious years of development. If he becomes the pitcher we all hope he can be, there is nothing precluding the Yankees from getting him as he becomes too expensive for the A's. (That's the Yankees way...in a way.)
Dustin Fowler - Again, a player with great upside. But, a player, from my perspective, without a future on the Yankees. For 2017 and 2018, I don't see any room for Fowler in the crowded (and talented) Yankees outfield of Judge, Frazier, Gardner, Hicks, and Ellsbury. (After 2018, I have dreams of Bryce Harper joining the team as a piece to help secure a few championships.) Where would Fowler fir in any of this schematic? Even if the Yankees don't eventually acquire Harper, Estevan Florial should be knocking on the door. The Yankees have an overstock in this department, it's best to deal from strength.
Jorge Mateo - Again, a prized talent - without a spot. It seems to me that Didi Gregorius is the shortstop of today and many more tomorrows. Gleyber Torres, once the heir apparent, seems like he'll be slotted to play second base - maybe as soon as next year. The Yankees though will still have Starlin Castro, who might be able to move to third base, and Miguel Andujar should also be knocking at the door. Mateo might be great someday, but his future doesn't seem to be part of this upcoming (and current) core.
In total, the Yankees acquired Sonny Gray for three players with a great deal of potential. Each could be a future star. But each is also blocked in their path to starting for the Yankees. The Yankees dealt from strength to get a cost-effective strong starting pitcher who should help the team both today and for the next few years.
One more note - much of this was lost with the excitement and the focus on players... The Oakland A's gave the Yankees international signing bonus pool money - as did the Orioles in a minor deal earlier in the day. While the Yankees have given up some blue-chip prospects who might have had a future impact on the club, they are, at the same time, quietly acquiring necessary funds to bring in the best talent to supplement the current core as they begin to reach their early 30's. That, or, might they be thinking Shohei Otani? Either way, the Yankees are making very sound baseball decisions - competing now, generating excitement, and also, while giving up talent, acquiring talent that will help them in the next few years.
All of that...and they are going for it!
I love a pennant race!
Sonny Gray (!) chasing the clouds away...