Yankees forecast is bright and Sonny following Gray trade

TORONTO, ON - JULY 25: Sonny Gray
TORONTO, ON - JULY 25: Sonny Gray /

For the second straight MLB non-waiver trade deadline, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman pulled a proverbial rabbit out of his hat, this time acquiring Sonny Gray for two injured top prospects and another who just began to put the bat on the ball at Double-A.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a big Dustin Fowler fan. In fact, if you regularly follow this blog then you know that I’ve been singing his praises for well over a year as the Yankees center fielder of the future.

Even after the horrific leg injury Fowler suffered in Chicago earlier this season, I remained optimistic that the 22-year-old would recover in time to beat 19-year-old outfield prospect Estevan Florial to the big leagues.

Well, I may still be right, but we’ll have to watch his ascent to the majors through the Oakland Athletics’ farm system.

Look, I get it. To acquire a 27-year-old top of the rotation type arm that is club controlled for the next two seasons and has proven that he’s overcome the injuries that plagued him a year ago, you run, not walk to sign on the dotted line.

James Kaprielian might have been the Yanks’ top rated pitching prospect, but he’s still in the beginning stages of his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Not that TJ is the same death sentence it was, say 20 years ago, but it’s definitely something that will require constant monitoring for the foreseeable future.

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As for Jorge Mateo, it feels like he’s been linked to every possible trade the Yankees have been involved in for the past two years. Not only did Mateo just begin hitting with regularity upon his promotion to Double-A Trenton, but his path to the majors with the Yankees is blocked at every turn.

Quite simply, each of the three players dealt to Oakland were expendable.

As for where the Yankees stand with 58 games to play, Brian Cashman has put his club in a prime position to not only win the ultra competitive AL East — but to give any of the other playoff caliber clubs a run for their money come October.

It’s safe to say that a brunt of the pressure will now fall squarely on the shoulders of manager Joe Girardi. Not that he can make his guys hit any better, or pitch more effectively, but it’s his job to bring out the very best in all 25 men. Should the team fail to live up to its sudden lofty expectations, it reasonable to believe ol’ Joe won’t be back in 2018.

In the span of just 12 months, the Yankees have gone from selling off their veterans, resulting in a fully stocked farm system, to acquiring legitimate assets that set the club up to win now without surrendering their very best prospects (Gleyber TorresClint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams and Florial).

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On top of all this goodness is the added bonus of the A’s throwing in $1.5 million in international bonus pool money that the Yankees can potentially spend on Japanese superstar Shoehi Otani this winter.