Troy Taormina | USA TODAY Sports

This is a story where no one is wrong, really. But one person — Yankees general manager Brian Cashman — is looking better than most now.

Cashman’s Harrison Bader-for-Jordan Montgomery deal at the trade deadline was a surprise. And then it looked like a disaster. While the merits behind the move made sense — the Yankees had decided Montgomery was not part of their plans and they wanted a true center fielder — the circumstances were ugly. Bader was injured and not playing while Montgomery started looking like a Cy Young candidate with the Cardinals.

Couple all that with the Yankees’ second-half swoon and the knives were out for Cashman. But look who is laughing now. Montgomery slowed down and the Cardinals failed to get out of the NL wild card round. And Bader, a Bronxville native, has become a postseason star for the Bombers.

Bader clubbed his fourth home run in October during Wednesday’s ALCS Game 1 loss to the Astros. He has also made his anticipated impact in the field. And the Yankees are going to have him next year at $4.7 million? Kudos to Cashman. He actually won this trade. It started out rough, and it’s hard to imagine Montgomery would not be an upgrade from Clarke Schmidt right now. But it appears Cashman flipped a spare part for the type of role player you need to win championships.

MORE ON ESNY:
Dan Snyder’s Washington Commanders can’t even run a raffle properly
Mike Francesa: If Yankees’ Luis Severino doesn’t step up, Astros will ‘wreck the game’
Now PFF says Jets’ Quinnen Williams actually played great vs. Packers
Aaron Judge free agency: 4 reasons why slugger is perfect for Mets
Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton broke Astros’ scoreboard with running catch

James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.