Grading The Yankees’ 2019 Offseason Acquisitions

While looking back on the offseason acquisitions for the Yankees, it brings the question of which moves have seemingly paid off the most so far?

When the Red Sox recorded the final out of the Yankees’ season in Game Four of the ALDS, the entire organization and fan base knew we needed more pieces. That point was emphasized ten-fold when Yankees fans across the country had their hearts ripped out having to watch the Red Sox win the 2018 World Series.

Yes, the Yankees did win 100 games and for every other fan base in the league that would be considered an outstanding season. Not the Yankees and certainly not when our biggest rival is lifting the Commissioner’s Trophy at the end of the year.

We are now at the end of May and roughly 65 games into the 2019 bid so it is time to take a look at how some of the pieces the Yankees’ front office acquired in the offseason have performed thus far.

2019 Yankees Recap: May Edition

James Paxton

Acquired via trade from the Seattle Mariners.

When the Yankees traded for Paxton on November 19th, the hope was for him to fit in either in the 2nd spot of the rotation behind Severino or 3rd behind Tanaka. That all changed when the Yankees got word that Sevy would be placed on the DL to start the season. The “Big Maple in the Big Apple” era didn’t get off to the best of starts as Paxton held a 1-2 record with a 6.00 ERA and 1.73 WHIP after the first 3 games of the season; however, since then Paxton has been absolute nails including an 8-inning shutout while striking out 12 Red Sox hitters.

Current Stats: 3-2 Record 41.2 IP 2.81 ERA 1.13 WHIP

Grade: B+

J.A. Happ

Acquired via Free Agency

 After J.A. Happ was acquired from the Blue Jays in 2018 he was arguably the Yankees’ ace for the remainder of the season. He posted a 7-0 record with a 2.69 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with the Yankees and many were pleading for him to start the AL Wild Card game. Given his success since putting on the pinstripes, it was a no-brainer for Cashman to bring him back to the Bronx. Unfortunately, his 2019 campaign has been just shy of a dumpster fire for a 36-year-old making $17 million.

Don’t let his 5-3 record fool you as 4 of those 5 wins have come against the Orioles, Giants, Mariners, and Royals—all of which are in dead last in their respective divisions. In fact by the time I finish this article I’m sure he’ll have given up another home run. Happ has struggled mightily with his command and has allowed the 4th most Home Runs per 9IP in the league this season.

Current Stats: 5-3 Record 63.1 IP 4.83 ERA 1.22 WHIP

Grade: C-

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 Adam Ottavino

 Acquired via Free Agency

 Adam Ottavino was arguably the most sought after reliever in the 2019 Free Agency class and on January 24th the Brooklyn native and longtime Yankee fan signed a three-year, $33 million contract. Ottavino has already made 26 relief appearances and has the lowest ERA on the roster amongst qualified pitchers. His wipeout slider has terrorized opposing hitters all season long as the 33-year-old right-hander has 34 strikeouts in just 27 and 1/3 innings. With Dellin Betances on the shelf for the entire season thus far, it has made the Ottavino signing even more critical and has put a cherry on top of an absolutely loaded bullpen.

Current Stats: 2-1 Record 27.1 IP 13 Holds 2 Saves 1.32 ERA 1.21 WHIP

Grade: A-

DJ LeMahieu

 Acquired via Free Agency

 Our Lord and Savior, DJ LeMahieu. When DJ LeMahieu was signed on January 14th, some considered him just an additional infield piece to help fill the void left by Didi Gregorius and his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Little did we all know that at the end of May LeMahieu would have the 5th highest batting average in the American League and be leading the injury-riddled Yankees to first place in the competitive AL East division.

The last few seasons the Yankees have struggled mightily to hit with runners in scoring position and LeMahieu has been exactly what the doctor ordered. DJ is hitting an unbelievable .457 with RISP and .407 with 2 outs and RISP. On top of that, the 3-time Gold Glove winner has been a vacuum playing games at all four positions in the infield.

Current Stats: .317 BA .368 OBP .462 SLG 32 RBI

Grade: A+

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