In 2021, anything is possible — including a trade between bitter rivals.
The Athletic’s Lindsay Adler reports that Yankees pitcher Adam Ottavino is shipping up to Boston in a trade to the Red Sox. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports that Ottavino and prospect Frank German are heading to Boston, with the Red Sox taking on Ottavino’s contract.
Source: The Yankees have traded Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox.
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) January 25, 2021
This marks the first time the AL East rivals have struck a deal since 2014, when the Yankees sent utilityman Kelly Johnson to Boston in exchange for shortstop Stephen Drew, very obviously a blockbuster deal (not really).
The Yankees, who signed Ottavino to a three-year, $27 million deal before the 2019 season, got mixed returns from the reliever, leading to the eventual ousting
Here’s what we know about the deal:
Why did the Yankees trade Adam Ottavino?
The trade seems like a pure money move from New York’s perspective: The Yankees are looking to stay under the luxury tax, and the trade saves about $9 million against that soft cap threshold ($210 million).
The deal also opens up a 40-man roster spot for the Yankees, which is needed to add one of DJ LeMahieu or Corey Kluber to the roster.
Armed with an array of signature devastating sliders at various depths and angles, Ottavino had a very good debut season with the Yankees in 2019 (1.90 ERA/3.44 FIP across 66 1/3 innings pitched) but came crashing back down to earth in 2020, the pandemic-shortened season, throwing to a 5.89 ERA over 18 1/3 innings. Ottavino came off a career year in 2018, but issues with walking batters plumped his WHIP to a 1.370 mark between both seasons with the Yanks.
The Yankees’ distrust in Ottavino led to manager Aaron Boone avoiding using him out of the bullpen during the 2020 playoffs, allowing him just two-thirds of an inning pitched in the ALDS vs. the Rays.
Per Sherman, the Yankees are also sending starting pitcher Frank German to the Red Sox as a “sweetener” in the deal. German, 23, is the Yankees’ 24th-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline and last pitched in High A for the Tampa Tarpons.
For CBT purposes, NYY have 19 plyrs signed plus what owe Ottavino for roughly $175.5M. Must budget about $23M for rest of roster, benefits (like pension), in-season call-ups. If budget, say, $5M for trade deadline, leaves $6M-$7M for #Yankees to spend and stay under $210M demand
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 25, 2021
If Ottavino can find some of his former self with Boston, then he could find himself pitching late in games in 2021. The Red Sox have a better-than-advertised bullpen, but could certainly use a pitcher of Ottavino’s caliber at the back end — should he return to form.