It's official: the New York Yankees have traded RHP Adam Ottavino and RHP Frank German to the Boston Red Sox for cash considerations or a player to be named later.
Per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Boston will also pick up all but $850K of the remaining $11 million owed to Ottavino – his $8 million salary for 2021, plus a $3 million bonus due in 2022 – and Boston’s luxury tax hit will be $8.15 million, which is the $9 million total hit (salary plus 1/3 of bonus) minus the $850K from the Yankees.
Ottavino, 35, signed a three-year deal prior to 2019, and had a 1.90 ERA in 66 1/3 innings that season. However, he fell out of favor with Aaron Boone that postseason, facing just six batters in three appearances in the ALDS before allowing three earned runs in 2 1/3 innings in the ALCS.
In 2020, Ottavino had a 5.89 ERA in 18 1/3 innings, and made just one appearance in the five-game ALDS loss to the Rays – entering in the fourth inning of the much-discussed Game 2 and facing three batters, allowing one walk and eventually one unearned run.
And, according to RADIO.COM Sports insider Jon Heyman, there began to be whispers about Ottavino’s mental fitness to pitch in the Big Apple:
German, 23, was the Yankees’ fourth-round pick in 2018 out of the University of North Florida, and was the No. 24 prospect in the system according to MLB.com. He had a 2.08 ERA in 30 1/3 innings as a rookie, mostly with Staten Island, and was 4-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 81 innings in 2019, mostly at High-A Tampa.
This is just the second deal between the heated rivals in the Brian Cashman era. The first came in 2014, when the Yankees acquired Stephen Drew for Kelly Johnson, and the previous Yanks-Sox trade before that was in 1997, when the Bombers acquired Mike Stanley for Tony Armas Jr.
The move will save the Yankees $9 million against the luxury tax mark in 2021 – reports had them with about $6 million in wiggle room as of yesterday’s acquisition of Jameson Taillon – and gives them three open spots on the 40-man roster to be able to officially add Taillon, DJ LeMahieu, and Corey Kluber.
However, the move also leaves the Yankees’ bullpen even shorter in its depth behind closer Aroldis Chapman and the lefty-righty duo of Zack Britton and Chad Green. With Ottavino’s departure, the Yankees have now lost three members of their projected 2020 Opening Day bullpen; Jonathan Holder and Tommy Kahnle were both non-tendered this winter, the latter after having Tommy John surgery, and are now with the Cubs and Dodgers, respectively.
There had been speculation that the acquisitions of Kluber and Taillon mean a reunion with Masahiro Tanaka is unlikely, but with now more wiggle room under the tax, that could become an option again. So, too, could a one-year deal to re-sign Brett Gardner, who has been engaged with the team of late, according to YES Network’s Jack Curry.
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN