When the New York Yankees signed right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino prior to the 2019 season, they had envisioned a dominant weapon for the back of the bullpen, one that helped them navigate through top lineups in the regular season and, especially, in the playoffs.
After all, he had an amazing performance in 2018 with the Colorado Rockies, striking out 36.2% of the batters he faced and finishing with a pristine 2.43 ERA. The two seasons he pitched with the Yankees were marred by inconsistency and a command blip or two.
The Yankees didn’t trust Ottavino in the postseason in both 2019 and 2020, and decided to trade him to the Boston Red Sox and get rid of most of the $9 million salary he is slated to make in 2021.
However, that doesn’t mean that Ottavino is a bad pitcher. He just struggled at the wrong time for the Yankees. Now, the Red Sox are getting a quality pitcher that will be hungry to prove he still has a lot left in the tank, not just because of pride, but also, he will be pitching for his next contract.
The pitcher himself told Fangraphs that he thinks he can be very, very good.
“I donâ€™t want to give away too many things,” the former Yankees, now Red Sock said. “But multiple shapes of my breaking pitches is the area where I can be elite at. Thatâ€™s the category I feel is my specialty. Just trying to lean into that and grab a little better control of pitches that break downward, as well as sideways and everything in between â€¦ I just want to be a little more diversified.”
The former Yankees hurler feels excited to join Boston
The pitcher knows Boston, knows the stadium, and is actually “very excited,” as he told MLB.com. “I was a little surprised (Monday) when I got the news, but all things considered, Boston is always a place I wanted to play. I went to school there, feel really comfortable in Fenway and all that good stuff. Iâ€™m really excited to bring what I bring. Hopefully I can do my thing out of the bullpen and help us win some ballgames.”
Cashman recently conceded that “Otto is better than what his numbers look like last year. The last thing I wanted to do was put him in the hands of our competitors, but ultimately Iâ€™m not afraid to do business with anybody if it serves whatever our purposes happen to be.”
Ottavino had a 5.89 ERA in his last season with the Yankees, but it came in only 18.1 innings and he had a much more decent 3.52 FIP.