Division Rivals, the Yankees and Red Sox agreed to a rare trade on Monday. The Yankees sent right-handed pitcher Adam Ottavino, pitching prospect Frank German, and $850,000 cash to the Red Sox in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. This is just the first trade between the two organizations since 2014.
The Yankees signed Ottavino as a free agent in 2019. Ottavino was successful in his first season in pinstripes, going 6-5 with a 1.90 ERA and struck out 88 over the course of 77.2 innings pitched, but then struggled in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season. He went just 2-3 and had a 5.89 ERA and struck out 25 over the course of 18.1 innings pitched. While his numbers were good, batters were able to get to Ottavino in 2020, causing him to give up more runs last season.
In 2019, Ottavino had a WHIP 1.31 over the course of 73 games played, and a WHIP of 1.58 in 2020 where he appeared in 24 games. He had two saves in 2019 and none in 2020. Last season, however, Ottavino, 35-years of age, 6’5”, 246lbs, became the setup man for Zach Britton, who served as the Yankees closer while Aroldis Chapman was out with COVID-19.
Ottavino, who was the first Yankees’ player to ever wear the No. 0 struggled to find command and produce swings and misses in 2020. Reporters and scouts believe that going to a new team will allow him to have a fresh-start and possibly regain his confidence on the mound. He had one year left on his three-year, $27 million deal with the Yankees before being traded to Boston on Monday. The Red Sox will now pickup most of his $9 million left to be paid by the Yankees.
Right-handed pitcher Frank German was also a part of the trade to the Red Sox. German, 23-years of age, 6’2”, 195lbs, was drafted by the Yankees in the 4th round of the 2018 MLB draft at the No. 127 overall pick out of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. He placed fifth in NCAA Division 1 with an ERA of just 1.58 and sixth in WHIP with a 0.83 in 2018. He was the highest drafted pitcher in UNF history.
German started his career with the GCL rookie-level Yankees and quickly advanced the same month he was drafted, to short-season Staten Island. In his first season with Staten Island, German appeared in 10 games and was 1-3 with a 2.22 ERA and 38 strikeouts over the course of 28.1 innings pitched.
German spent most of the 2019 season with Advanced-A Tampa, where he appeared in 16 games and was 4-4 with a 3.79 ERA and 82 strikeouts over the course of 76 innings pitched. He did, however, miss some time between July and August with an injury.
German is known for his advanced feel for pitching and has a fastball that ranges between 94-96 mph, but has topped at 98 mph with a lot of run. His repertoire also includes a changeup that has fade and sink, but needs improvement for more success against right-handed hitters. He also has a slurveball that he is working on turning into a slider.
German has sound mechanics and can repeat them well. He is expected to become a starter if he can improve his slider.
By trading Ottavino and German, the Yankees free up more payroll space as they try to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold.
With Ottavino now with Boston, that leaves Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton, and Chad Green at the back end of the bullpen. The Yankees also have one more spot on the 40-man roster remaining after adding Jameson Taillon, Corey Kluber, and re-signing DJ LeMahieu last week.