Yankees Clear Roster Spot, Deal Adam Ottavino To Red Sox
In the short term, the Yankees had two immediate goals: first, they needed to clear space on their 40-man roster for incoming players. Even after trading away 40-man pitchers Roansy Contreras and Miguel Yajure to make space for incoming righthander Jameson Taillon, they still were left with just one spot for the pair of DJ LeMahieu and Corey Kluber.
That meant someone needed to go, and that someone was righty reliever Adam Ottavino, who was shipped to the Red Sox on Monday morning with righthanded pitching prospect Frank German. The Yankees will receive a player to be named later or cash considerations in return.
The move also helps the Yankees accomplish their second goal, which is to stay under the $210 million threshold before the competitive balance tax is triggered. Ottavino was slated to make $9 million this year, the final season of his three-year deal.
The Red Sox will reportedly take on all but $850,000 of that salary, which means New York has a little more financial wiggle room and as well as open spots on the 40-man for both LeMahieu and Kluber.
The move also gives the Red Sox a veteran for a bullpen that wasn’t particularly effective in 2020.
Adam Ottavino, RHP
In 2020, the second year of his three-year deal with the Yankees, Ottavino was not reliable. Quite simply, he got hit very hard, very often. According to Statcast, 50% of the contact made against Ottavino in 2020 qualified as hard-hit (an exit velocity of better than 95 mph) and his ERA ballooned to 5.89.
Ottavino was quite good in the first year of his deal, however—albeit with a little bit worse control than in 2020—and could be a solidifying force if he returns to form with a season that could be a bit more normal. A rebound would also make Ottavino an excellent midseason trade candidate for a contending club, which would help the Red Sox build up their farm system.
Frank German, RHP
German was the Yankees’ fourth-rounder in the 2018 draft, and was selected out of North Florida. He has a big fastball that got up to 98 mph in 2019, with strong lateral movement. He also has a mid-80s slurve and was developing a changeup. Some scouts had the slider pegged as potentially above-average, while others didn’t believe either of his offspeeds would even reach fringe-average. He’s likely a reliever in the long term.