Report: Yankees trade Adam Ottavino to Red Sox

Here’s something you don’t see too often: the Yankees and Red Sox have struck a deal. Adam Ottavino has been shipped out to Boston in what assuredly is a salary dump. Ottavino is due $8 million in 2021 and a $3 million signing bonus in 2022, of which Boston will pay all but $850,000. For doing the Yanks this favor, the Red Sox also acquired prospect Frank German, a right handed pitcher.

This move subtracts $8.15 million from the Yankees’ payroll for luxury tax purposes (Ottavino’s hit was $9 million, now reduced by the $850k). You have to figure that this is a precursor to more activity coming, such as a reunion with Brett Gardner.

Additionally, this trade clears up another 40-man spot. The Yanks now have two open, so the DJ LeMahieu and Corey Kluber deals will likely become official in short order.

Ottavino initially signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Yankees ahead of the 2019 season. The righty posted a 2.76 ERA in 84.2 innings with the Bombers, his hometown team. He was often inconsistent and didn’t have complete trust of his manager Aaron Boone, as evidenced by sparse usage in the last two postseasons.

German, 23, was the Yankees’ 4th round pick in 2018 and is Rule 5 eligible this winter. He last pitched in High-A in 2019 and recorded a 3.79 ERA and 4.19 FIP in 76 innings. He was the club’s 24th-best prospect per MLB Pipeline.

This is the first trade between the two sides since the Stephen Drew for Kelly Johnson swap in 2014. Before that, the last trade between the Yanks and Boston occurred in 1997.


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  1. dasit

    i was about to gripe about my big market team dumping salary and then i remembered the red sox traded mookie betts

  2. MikeD

    And now for something completely different.

  3. JG (Ben Francisco)


  4. Mungo

    This trade is representative of MLB today. It’s all about the luxury tax, and it’s probably fitting that the deal was with a team that was forced to trade away a generational star in Mookie Betts to get under their own luxury tax issue a year back. At least in this case, the price was only a reliever.

    We shouldn’t lose track that the Yankees just traded a reliever who traditionally has been a nightmare for righty batters, and the Yankees are a team of righty hitters. Ottavino may not have struck out Babe Ruth every time, but he may strike out Gary Sanchez every time, although there’s an equal chance that Aaron Judge will walk every time against him.

    This trade is NOT simply to clear space for Brett Gardner. It’s to clear overall payroll space for all the players added now and to leave flexibility to add more as the season progresses. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they now go out and tap one of the relievers out on the market and add him to the pen at a lower rate than what they were paying Otto.

    The Red Sox did not do this out of kindness. They believe Ottavino can help them now and specifically during matchups against the Yankees righties. If he bounces back, he could also be flipped at the trade deadline for a prospect. It also says they believe strongly in Frank German. The Yankees likely do too, but they opted to sacrifice a prospect to free up salary space, and that says it all about MLB today.

    • CentralScrutinizer

      He may have been a “”nightmare”” for right-handed hitters (more like effective but way overpaid) but he was nightmarish against lefties and walked too many of both. Forget about striking out Babe Ruth – he couldn’t even handle Danny Jansen. Good riddance to him.

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