By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Red Sox added some much needed bullpen help on Monday, coming from an unlikely source.
According to Lindsey Adler of The Athletic, the Red Sox and Yankees swung a rare trade that will send relief pitcher Adam Ottavino to Boston. Starter Frank German, the 24th-ranked prospect in the Yankees system, will also be heading to Boston, along with $850,000. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Red Sox will send back cash or a player to be named later.
The move is likely the result of a salary dump by the Yankees, who currently have baseball’s second-biggest payroll and are pushing the luxury tax. In exchange for taking on the one remaining year of Ottavino’s $9 million per year contract, the Red Sox also pick up German, a fourth-round pick in 2018.
Ottavino had been one of baseball’s best relievers over the last two years. Despite spending 2018 in Colorado’s altitude and 2019 in the little league park that is Yankee Stadium, he posted a 2.19 ERA in 148 outings in that span.
Statistically the Northeastern product took a step back in 2020, with his ERA jumping to 5.89. However, the shortened season didn’t do him any favors. Nine of his 12 earned runs came in just two of his 24 appearances. In the remaining 22, his ERA was just 1.53.
Assuming those two outings were just an anomaly, the 35-year-old likely becomes one of if not the best reliever on the Red Sox roster. Ottavino’s fastball is a mid-90’s sinker, but his real weapon is his slider. It has as much movement as any pitch in baseball when it’s on, and it should translate well to Fenway Park, as it tails sharply away from right-handed hitters who may be looking to pull balls off the Green Monster.
German, a 2018 fourth-round pick out of the University of Northern Florida, has shot up the prospect rankings in recent years. In his first and only minor league season 2019, German started 15 games and finished with a 3.79 ERA in 76 innings. Like most minor league players, he didn’t play in 2020 due to COVID-19.
It’s still too early to tell if German will stay on the starter track or move to the bullpen. The 23-year-old throws a fastball that can reach the upper 90’s, to go along with a 12-6 curveball, slurve, and changeup.
This deal is the first trade between the Red Sox and Yankees since 2014, and just their second since 1997. The last swap came at the 2014 trade deadline. That move saw the Red Sox send Stephen Drew and cash to New York for Kelly Johnson.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.