How about this: The Yankees and Red Sox made a trade on Monday — and the Yankees did it to save money, sending reliever Adam Ottavino, minor-leaguer Frank German and a reported $850,000 to Boston.
The Yankees received a player to be named or future cash — and immediate payroll relief.
They were able to remove most of Ottavino’s $9 million salary as they attempt to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold for 2021. The $850,000 going from the Yankees to the Red Sox was first reported by ESPN.com.
The most recent trade between the Yankees and Red Sox had come on July 31, 2014. The Yankees acquired infielder Stephen Drew and cash from their AL East rivals for infielder Kelly Johnson.
In recent days, the Yankees have re-signed DJ LeMahieu to a six-year, $90 million contract, signed free agent Corey Kluber for one year and $11 million and traded for former Pirates righthander Jameson Taillon, who will earn $2.25 million in 2021.
The LeMahieu and Kluber signings have not yet been announced by the club, which needed to make room on the 40-man roster. The Taillon and Ottavino trades accomplished that.
Ottavino is in the final year of a three-year, $27 million contract. He had a difficult 2020, going 2-3 with a 5.89 ERA in 24 games, and made only one appearance for two-thirds of an inning in the Yankees’ seven postseason games.
Ottavino's statistics were ruined by a Sept. 7 appearance against the Blue Jays in Buffalo in which he allowed six earned runs in zero innings. In a sixth inning in which the Blue Jays scored 10 runs before the Yankees could get the second out, he pitched to six batters, and each one not only reached base but scored before he left the game. He had a 2.95 ERA in his other 23 appearances.
German, 23, is a Class A righthander from Queens who was ranked as the Yankees’ 24th-best prospect by MLB.com.
Adam Ottavino's Yankee stats (2019-20)
Regular season: 8-8, 2.76 ERA, 84 2/3 innings in 97 appearances, 113 strikeouts, 1.37 WHIP
Postseason: 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 4 innings in 9 appearances, 7 strikeouts, 2.75 WHIP