Yankees’ shocking Adam Ottavino trade with Red Sox could pave way for blockbuster

Yankees RHP Adam Ottavino (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Yankees RHP Adam Ottavino (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Yankees have shed payroll. Adam Ottavino has been traded to the Boston Red Sox.

Well, the move we’ve all been waiting for finally happened. But it wasn’t with the trade partner we were expecting. In fact, it was the last trade partner we were expecting.

The New York Yankees have traded Adam Ottavino and his $9 million salary (well, almost all of it) to … the division-rival Boston Red Sox. Yes, a Yankees-Red Sox trade. We’re floored too. But it makes sense. New York doesn’t necessarily need Otto anymore and Boston needs all the bullpen help it can get.

The last time these two franchises traded with one another? 2014. Pretty wild stuff, but fans were expecting Otto to be dealt for months now. They just didn’t expect it to be to a team we face 19 times per year.

When Otto joined the Yankees in 2019, it looked like one of the most shrewd free agency moves of the cycle. Three years and $27 million for a guy who seemed to hit his stride at the perfect time. He had a wicked slider, struck out a ton of batters, and would be a lethal weapon utilized from innings 6-9. Whatever worked, he’d be an option!

But then came the 2019 postseason, and it’s (mostly) all been downhill from there. Sure, we can take out his ghastly performance against the Blue Jays in Buffalo this past season, but there were still major concerns with his strikeout numbers, location, and ability to get the job done in high-leverage situations.

No surprise here, but the Bombers are also sending the Sox a prospect, because that’s what it’ll take to get rid of a majority of the right-hander’s 2021 salary. Frank German is a low-level pitching prospect who was drafted in 2018, ranked 24th on MLB Pipeline’s most recent list.

More importantly, does this indicate another big move is coming? Before the Jameson Taillon trade, the Yankees’ payroll sat at $201 million. Add in Taillon, and we’re at $203 million. Subtract another $7-$8 million, and that’s well under $200 million. Can we be gearing up for a Kyle Hendricks trade (he carries a $14 million salary)?!

The logic here is that the Yankees would be able to exceed the tax by a few million, since they’ll only be charged 20% on every dollar spent over the $210 threshold. Come on, Hal. A few hundo thou never hurt anyone.

Nonetheless, a very tough ending for Ottavino in the Bronx and we (sharp pains) wish him the best with the Red Sox in 2021. Against the Yankees’ all-righty lineup, this could end up in disaster in a few key spots.