After the Boston Red Sox acquired Chris Sale prior to the 2017 season, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman referred to his American League East rival as the “(Golden State) Warriors of baseball.”

And although the Yankees made the splash off this offseason by trading for National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, Cashman isn’t backing down from the theory that the Red Sox are the team to beat.

Cashman discussed the Yankees and their lofty 2018 expectations Wednesday, playing the underdog card when asked about the Red Sox and the rest of the AL East.

“They’re the AL East champs, so we’re not on equal footing,” Cashman said, per New York Daily News. “We were the Wild Card. They had the title within the division last year. I don’t know if they’re putting a flag up for it or not, but they are the AL East champs, we are not. So we are not on equal footing until we take that away from them, while at the same time preventing anybody that finished behind us from surpassing us and joining the fray.”

Interesting tactic.

The Yankees boast at least three players — Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez — who are capable of hitting more than 30 home runs, and the Bronx Bombers were one game away from making the World Series in 2017 without Stanton, so there’s a reason they are being billed as the front-runners for the AL East.

New York’s acquisition of Stanton marked a shift away from building through its farm system and back toward the ways of the Evil Empire of the 1990s and 2000s.

Sorry Brian, don’t think the underdog card is in your deck anymore.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images