AL East front office grades midway through 2024 season: Did Brian Cashman do enough?

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages
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This week marks the halfway point of the 2024 season. Which MLB executives did enough to send their teams closer to contention since the conclusion of the 2023 postseason? And which came up short, dooming their rosters with a cavalcade of gaffes?

The final installment in this series focuses on the AL East.

The standard of measurement in Wins Above Average (WAA), a variant of Wins Above Replacement (WAR). For this purpose, WAA is preferable because unlike WAR, it is zero-based. That means the sum of all the decisions made by each team’s front office gives at least a good estimate of the number of games those moves have improved – or worsened – the team’s status this season.

Our grading scale is straight-forward. Front offices that have improved their team by…:

 +3.0 games or higher = A

+1.0 to +2.9 games = B

-0.9 to +0.9 games = C

 -1.0 to -2.5 games = D

-2.6 games or worse = F

A team’s front office impacts that team’s standing in five ways. Those five are:

1. By the impact of players it acquires from other teams via trade, purchase or waiver claim.

2. By the impact of players it surrenders to other teams in those same transactions.

3. By the impact of players it signs at free agency or extends.

4. By the impact of players it loses to free agency or releases.

5. By the impact of players it promotes from its own farm system.

From best to worst, here’s how AL East front offices stack up by those five yardsticks.

2024 AL East Offseason Grades

New York Yankees: Brian Cashman, senior vice president and general manager. Grade: C.

Cashman is the undisputed dean of front office execs, having run the Yankees since 1998. At 3.1 games of value, his acquisition of Juan Soto in a trade with San Diego was also one of the most productive deals of the offseason.

The overall record, though, was less impressive than that singular deal makes it appear. Cashman’s front office has made 35 personnel moves impacting the major league roster since the conclusion of the 2023 postseason, but those moves to date have broken 13-19-3 against the Yanks.

Indisputably the most significant of those – one of only two by any front office that has moved his team’s needle by more than three games – was the Soto trade with San Diego.

Signing him long-term at season’s end is another issue entirely, but nobody in the Bronx thinks in the long term. The five players who went to San Diego in exchange -- catcher Kyle Higashioka, plus pitchers Drew Thorpe, Randy Vasquez, Michael King, and Jhony Brito – have all seen big league time. But their cumulative WAA to date is -0.1 WAA. And again, while they may blossom long-term, nobody in the Bronx thinks that far ahead.

Score: +0.9. Grade: C.