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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Baltimore Orioles: Mike Elias, executive vice president and general manager. Grade: C.

With an army of young talent, the Orioles front office put its hopes on its top prospect, Jackson Holliday, to provide the upgrade that would take this team from AL East champion to a serious post-season threat.

However, Holliday’s introduction went so badly that he was sent down after only 10 games, batting .059 with a -0.6 WAA contribution. That performance has mitigated the Elias front office’s score, although Baltimore retains enough talent to sit more than 20 games over .500 at the midway point.

Elias took a conservative approach to the offseason, making just 16 personnel moves impacting the big league roster. Holliday’s brief promotion was one of six that have thus far gone badly; six others rate positively, and four have been neutral.

The big move was the trade with Milwaukee that landed Corbin Burnes. He’s 9-3 with a 2.28 ERA in 17 starts, good enough to produce a +1.6 WAA. On the other hand, Burnes’s acquisition came at the cost of Joey Ortiz, who’s playing third base for the Brewers at a +1.4 rate. So, from a value standpoint, that deal has been a basic wash.

Far less attention-grabbing than the Burnes deal, but almost equally as productive was Elias’ decision last fall to sign free agent pitcher Albert Suarez out of Korea. Suarez, who hadn’t pitched in a major league game since 2017, has a 2.70 ERA in 16 appearances, nine of them starts, good for a +0.8 WAA. Not bad for the league minimum.

Score:  +0.4. Grade: C.