As May winds down the Yankees record sits two games over .500, which is good for a one game lead in the tightly contested AL East. With only 3.5 games separating the first place Bombers and the last place Blue Jays every personnel decision can have a large effect on the standings.
Two months into the season the sample size is now large enough to analyze and grade GM Brian Cashman’s major offseason acquisitions.
Andrew Miller (A+)
Let’s start off on a positive note. It is hard to pitch any better than Andrew Miller has over his first two months in pinstripes. He is 14/14 is save opportunities while pitching to a 0.84 ERA. Miller has amazingly surrendered only a total of five hits over 21 appearances.
Few Yankee fans wanted to see popular homegrown closer David Robertson leave, but early returns indicate that Cashman made a wise to decision sign Miller for similar money and get the compensatory first round pick for losing Robertson.
Stephen Drew (D)
On the other side of the grading curve is infielder Stephen Drew. I can't imagine how anyone watched Drew hit .150 for the Yankees over 46 games of a failed playoff push last season and decided "let's give this another shot."
Brian Cashman made the unpopular decision to reward Drew's terrible play in 2014 with a 5 million dollar contract for 2015. Drew repaid Cashman's faith by raising his average to a robust .162 in his first 44 games this season.
Drew has now played a total of 90 games (roughly half a season) for the Yankees and would need a serious hot streak to even approach the Mendoza line. If the Bomber brass is not willing to give 2B prospect Rob Refsnyder a chance now, one has to wonder if they every will.
The only reasons Drew did not grade out as an F is that he has five home runs and has played decent defense at multiple infield positions.
Didi Gregorius (D)
Didi fittingly gets a D. His anemic slash line of .206/.268/.279 will not make anyone forget Derek Jeter anytime soon. While is it certainly unfair to compare the 25-year-old to the future Hall of Famer he is replacing, if Gregorius wants be a starting major league shortstop he needs to produce at a much higher level.
Didi was supposed to provide some left-handed pop at Yankee Stadium. With only two home runs and 11 RBI more than a quarter of the way through the season, that has not happened. Didi was supposed to be a major defensive upgrade over what the 40-year-old captain provided last year, but he already has 6 errors.
Whether it remains Drew and Didi or Cashman looks outside the big league roster for replacements, the Yankees are going to need much better production out of their middle-infield if they are going to continue to contend.
Chase Headley (C-)
Headley's .251 average with six homers and 22 RBI makes him look like an All Star compared to Drew and Gregorius, but those numbers hardly justify 4 year, 52 million dollar contract he signed in the offseason.
Chase's defense has been strangely up and down in 2015. He will make a spectacular, jaw dropping play that would lead one to believe that he is one of the best third basemen in the game. The next inning he'll boot a routine ball. His 11 errors are a staggeringly high number to have this early in the season.
If Yankees are going to get a worthwhile return on the money they invested in Chase Headley he is going need to be much more consistent at the bat and in the field.
Nathan Eovaldi (B)
Yankee fans would certainly like to still have Martin Prado on the roster to play second base, but you usually have to give up something to get something and Eovaldi has been a solid presence in the starting rotation.
With Masahiro Tanaka missing more than a month to injury, Eovaldi has been forced to assume the role of New York's number two starter behind Michael Pineda. The hard throwing righty is 4-1 over nine starts with a 4.27 ERA.
If the 25-year-old Eovaldi can continue to develop his considerable talent, he could become a fixture in the Yankee rotation for years to come.