The question everybody is asking — has general manager Brian Cashman improved the New York Yankees during the 2019 offseason? The improvement and development of any team can be measured by the players lost and gained.
For the Yanks, not a single player was lost in free agency with the exception of David Robertson. His loss will not be significant since they managed to replace him with Adam Ottavino, an even better option that will prove to be an upgrade if all goes to plan.
In 2018, Robertson earned a 3.23 ERA while Ottavino finished at 2.43. The difference is notable and Adam surely presents the better option, especially when you factor in his strikeout rate – 1.45 SO per-inning (2018).
That’s what I like to call “an improvement.” As for the starters, Cashman traded for Seattle Mariners ace James Paxton. Despite his injury woes, the starter will add value to a rotation including Luis Severino, J.A. Happ, Masahiro Tanaka, and CC Sabathia. Happ finished the year 7-0 for the Yankees, so who’s to say he wouldn’t have contributed to several more wins that could have earned the Bombers a first-round BYE in the playoffs?
His presence will surely make a difference over the course of an entire season.
A struggling unit has received reinforcements:
With Didi Gregorius recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Yankees were forced into signing a stop-gap player to fill the void. Troy Tulowitzki was the veteran they acquired, a player that Cashman has been high on for quite some time.
Tulo brings several Gold-Gloves to the team and will help a unit that was one of the worst in the league defensively last year. The signing of D.J. LeMahieu will also contribute in that category – he’s a hard worker with great leadership abilities.
Value beyond ability:
Bringing on the two veterans will help Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar develop considerably, and the value of that doesn’t have a price-tag. Needless to say, Cashman has improved this team in every facet, but if you look closely you can see that resources were allocated to units of weakness.
The Yankees’ bullpen struggled in the strikeout department in 2018, so Cash brought in Ottavino, one of the best in the game at getting that “STRIKE 3” call. He retained Britton who is a more than capable reliever and will be used tactically. The starting pitching wasn’t upgraded considerably, but having several No.2 options and players like Severino and Happ that can perform like true aces inconsistently, surely contributes to the overall success of the team.
While some are concerned that Cashman didn’t break the bank for players like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, he managed to improve the team on a budget. We must remember that the Yankees were a 100-win team last season, which should indicate that major improvements weren’t necessary, but improving the weaknesses on the team should give them an even better chance at contending for a World Series in 2019.