That’s because he was traded within the division to the Boston Red Sox in a deal that saw the Yankees rid themselves of $9 million against the luxury tax threshold, which gave them more “spending power.”
Some fans, for good reason, weren’t thrilled with the trade. After all, it was just an excuse to work within the organization’s self-constrained offseason budget. But most importantly, they gave a good player to a division rival! When do you ever see that happen?
On top of helping fortify Boston’s not-so-great bullpen, Otto specifically specializes in making a fool of right-handed hitters, which make up a majority of the Yankees’ starting lineup.
But what could be more disappointing is the fact that Otto feels the Yankees didn’t utilize him properly during the 2020 season, which certainly affected their strategy in the playoffs and undoubtedly resulted in the controversial offseason trade.
Here’s what he had to say about the “frustrating” end to his tenure in the Bronx.
The right-hander talked about is heavy usage against righties, which, while not a surprise, ended up affecting the way he was deployed as the season went on. Remember he was barely used in the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays? Yup, that was because Kevin Cash had a roster in which he could send up a lefty at almost any point in time. And one could suspect the Yankees didn’t want to risk putting Otto in that position … which led to them overusing Chad Green, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman. How’d that work out again?
He also noticed that he wasn’t pitching as many full innings and was getting taken out in situations he previously would’ve been left in to finish off the job. That contributed to his lack of reps, especially against lefties, and in a shortened season, we’re not sure why you’re limiting one of your best arms, even if he had some tough outings.
“That bothered me. That frustrated me. But ultimately it motivated me and I’m glad I’ll get a better opportunity this year to face those guys.”
If the Red Sox are smart, they’ll learn from the Yankees’ mistakes and not play the matchups so religiously. No, Otto wasn’t the greatest against lefties, but maybe give him reps during the regular season so he can get familiarity for when such situations present themselves when it matters or when you’re down arms?
If you have a really skilled pitcher, use him. Don’t take him out because the next batter coming up hits from the other side of the plate.