The New York Yankees now have over $8 million of extra money after trading Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox. Let’s spend it for them!
The Yankees completed their “final” offseason goal of exiling Adam Ottavino’s salary elsewhere this offseason.
Every fan saw this maneuver coming, but no fan on earth saw the Red Sox taking the plunge and adding over $8 million of the remaining $9 million due to Otto this year.
Boston will absorb the bulk of the $11 million total, which stretches into next year, and the Yankees should consider that a champagne-worthy gift, though they’ll probably see their all-righty lineup carved up by Ottavino’s slider all summer long (unless he gets traded to a different contender).
Saying goodbye to a Brooklyn boy Bomber is depressing, but this was inevitable, and we shouldn’t let the scarlet B distract us from what was inevitably a solid finessing by Brian Cashman.
So, what’s next? Where does the money go? One spot is obvious, and we’ll touch upon it in a second, but as far as we can tell, there are three roads the Yankees can now go down.
One’s exceedingly likely, one’s positively a pipe dream, and one falls somewhere in the middle. Step one — arguably the hardest part — is now done.
3. Brett Gardner + Bullpen Help
The Yankees are fairly obviously going to sign Brett Gardner now, but there’d better be more.
We’d label this as the most likely outcome, by a wide margin.
The Brett Gardner element of this sliding budgetary scale seems almost assured. With $10-$13 million left to play with, and some cash needed for in-season adjustments, the Yankees will probably give Gardner between $2.5-$3 million and call their need for a lefty officially satisfied.
So, will they use the rest of the surplus on replacing Ottavino’s innings and knocking Luis Cessa and Jonathan Loaisiga back down the pecking order? Can they? Please?
Super Bullpens, once totally in vogue after the 2015 Kansas City Royals’ World Series win, now seem like a thing of the past — everyone, including the Yankees, is now chasing the Rays’ plug-and-play rotation strategy. But four trusted back-end relievers still feels like a more magic number, and the Yankees could easily add someone like Trevor Rosenthal or Shane Greene to the mix at $4-5 million for a single year.
In fact, if they don’t, it’d be disappointing and weak. There’s no issue with using some of this newfound fortune to bring back Gardner, who had a 131 wRC+ against righties in 2019 and a 124 mark in the shortened 2020 season. He’s still good for something.
But if they don’t supplement that addition with a reliever, too, it’d be a mistake.