The New York Yankees have freed up $8.15 million of luxury breathing room. They had dumped slumping reliever Adam Ottavino onto the Boston Red Sox in the team’s first trade since 2014. This is another move by the Yankees to improve the team. Last week they managed to re-sign DJ LeMahieu to a $15 million six-year deal. That freed up enough money to immediately sign two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber for a one year deal worth $11 million.
Yesterday they traded for Pittsburgh Pirates starter Jameson Taillon. The Yankees sent Miguel Yajure, Roansy Contreras, Miakel Escotto, and Caanan Smith in the no-cash deal. Today, they have unloaded reliever Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox for cash or a player to be named later. Boston will receive Ottavino and minor league right-hander Frank German. German was a low-level minor league pitcher. The Yankees also sent $850K to the Red Sox. The move was basically a salary dump for the Yankees.
Moving Adam Ottavino seemed like a long shot after his poor year last when he admitted he had no idea why he was pitching poorly. But Yankees general manager Brian Cashman got the deal done with a team that badly needs bullpen help. The move also allows the Yankees to either trade or spend some money for either more staring enhancement or replacing Ottavino in the bullpen or both.
Earlier in the offseason, Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner gave the front office a directive to stay below the luxury tax threshold of $210 million. Since then, Cashman had to wait it out with DJ LeMahieu negotiations seemingly going nowhere, or so we thought. Cashman worked his magic and got what was best for both parties. DJ got his future security, and the Yankees saved what many reported to be as much as $10 million annually. That allowed Cashman to finalize the deal with Corey Kluber immediately.
Now Cashman had done what most industry experts thought was near impossible, pushing Adam Ottavino last contract year off the books. Ottavinoâ€™s 5.89 ERA was his highest since debuting as a rookie with the Cardinals back in 2010, although fielding-independent metrics were more bullish on his work (3.52 FIP, 3.62 SIERA). Last season he was so bad toward the end of the season he was seldom used. The only time he was used in the postseason was for two-thirds of an inning when he gave up a run in the Rays’ loss.
Now New York Yankees fans can sit on the edge of their collective chairs and wait for Cashman’s next move. Will it be another starter or an arm or two for the bullpen?