A year ago, the Yankees said goodbye to Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller and, briefly, to Aroldis Chapman.
For the first time in about two decades, the Yankees were considered a “seller” at the trade deadline and essentially waived the white flag on the season.
It was a necessary change of direction for the organization. They needed to get younger, more athletic and flat out better.
You were introduced to Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and countless others. Sure enough, the narrative around the future started to change.
“The future is bright.”
That’s a statement I heard quite a bit heading into the 2017 season, and I was leading the charge.
I believed in the Yankees plan, but did I ever believe that come 2017 the team would be all in at the mid-season trade deadline?
Not in a million years.
The Yankees have exceeded my and everybody’s expectations, despite the peaks and valleys of a 162-game season.
General manager Brian Cashman has done a masterful job of acquiring so much young talent over the last few years, but it was time to cash in on a couple of deals that should help in the present and the future.
Last week, I discussed the no-brainer trade made with the Chicago White Sox, in which the Yankees were able to acquire David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Todd Frazier.
It was a trade that made perfect sense and helped a slumping team get back on their feet.
Monday, the Yankees took it a step further by bolstering their starting rotation.
The Yankees acquired Sonny Gray from the Oakland A’s in exchange for prospects Jorge Mateo, Dustin Fowler and James Kaprielian.
Yes, the Yankees said goodbye to three highly touted youngsters, but acquired a 27-year-old starting pitcher in the prime of his career who is under team control for another three seasons.
Gray is exactly the sort of starting pitcher the Yankees have been looking for.
The trade signals yet another change in direction for the franchise in this 2017 season. The expectations have changed for this fun-loving, over-achieving bunch.
The goal now is a simple one: win the American League East for the first time in five years.
Considering the team has vastly improved over the last few weeks, combined with the struggles of the dysfunctional Boston Red Sox, the American League East is there for the taking.
The ten head-to-head match-ups between the Yankees and Red Sox over the next month will without question play an enormous role in deciding the division.
The Yankees a month ago had a considerable talent gap in the starting rotation and the bullpen. Not anymore.
Time to win the American League East.
What a difference a year makes.
You can listen to me on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM on Friday from 2 to 6 a.m., Sunday from 1 to 6 a.m., Monday from 1 to 6 a.m. & 10 p.m to 2 a.m.. You can also hear me on CBS Sports Radio from 6 to 10 a.m.