2. Justin Wilson and Darren O’Day Over…Anyone Else After Adam Ottavino Trade
The Yankees traded Adam Ottavino for both baseball reasons and tax purposes. The argument that his services were no longer worth his contract seemed warranted; after all, he fell out of Aaron Boone’s circle of trust in the 2019 postseason (deservedly so) and saw his ERA balloon in 2020 thanks to an ungodly choke job during New York’s worst stretch in years in Buffalo.
That game might’ve directly caused his exile, but the momentum had been building for quite a while. If a highly-paid reliever can’t be used during the season’s most important games, and if the team that employs him actually cares about salaries, then that team should probably find a way to clear his money.
The Yanks thought so little of the Boston Red Sox that they tried to poison pill them with Ottavino, attaching a prospect to get Chaim Bloom to pay his salary in 2021. The Sox are contending for the AL East and beyond, though, and while Ottavino hasn’t always been crisp and fun to watch, he’s still got a 2.79 ERA.
After exiling that money, the Yankees tried to turn his contract into a two-for-one, essentially paying both Justin Wilson and Darren O’Day to approximate his innings. O’Day had a 3.00 ERA in nine innings before suffering a shoulder injury towards the end of April; he’s working his way back, but he’s not there yet.
Wilson? His blown save in Detroit stands out, but he was among the worst relievers in baseball in April and May, and reportedly battled hamstring tightness the entire time en route to posting a 6.08 ERA.
0-for-2 thus far. Who else could the Yankees have targeted at similar prices? Yusmeiro Petit, who can soak up tons of innings for $2.55 million and is 7-1 with a 3.40 ERA for the A’s. Kendall Graveman and his 1.25 ERA cost $1.25 million, ironically, in Seattle. Collin McHugh, also eating innings in Tampa, has whiffed 42 men in 29.1 innings pitched at a very low cost.
There were options. The Yankees picked the wrong ones.