Yanks deal Ottavino to rival Red Sox

January 25th, 2021

In a rare deal between American League East rivals, the Yankees have traded right-hander to the Red Sox, the teams announced on Monday.

The deal also includes right-hander Frank German, who was rated as the Yanks' No. 24 prospect by MLB Pipeline, heading to Boston. New York will receive a player to be named or cash considerations.

It appears that the trade focused on salary relief from the Yankees' perspective. The Yankees are including $850,000 in the deal, and Boston will assume the remaining $7.15 million owed to Ottavino.

That frees funds as the Yankees aim to keep payroll below the $210 million luxury tax threshold. A reunion with outfielder Brett Gardner is possible; the 37-year-old Gardner would have earned $12.5 million in a full 2020 season, including a $2.5 million buyout of his contract option.

Boston was one of the clubs interested in Ottavino during his free agency period two years ago. Now a 10-year big league veteran, Ottavino owns a 3.53 ERA in 463 appearances with the Cardinals, Rockies and Yankees. He pitched to a 1.90 ERA over 73 games with New York in 2019 but scuffled last year, posting a 5.89 ERA over 24 outings.

Ottavino appeared in just one postseason game in 2020, recording two outs while allowing a run in the Yanks' Game 2 American League Division Series loss to the Rays.

General manager Brian Cashman has frequently said that he is open to trading with any club "except for Boston." The push to trim the luxury tax hit apparently prompted Cashman to bend that stance.

The deal marks just the second move between the clubs in the past 24 years; the last transaction between the clubs came at the 2014 Trade Deadline, when New York sent infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson to Boston in exchange for infielder Stephen Drew. Before that, the rivals hadn't made a trade since 1997.