Boston Red Sox: Ottavino "A place I always wanted to play"

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The Boston Red Sox made a surprise trade with the New York Yankees on Monday.  The Red Sox acquired right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino and pitching prospect Frank German for a player to be named later.  As part of the trade, the Yankees will kick in $850,000 to help cover part of Ottavino's $8 million salary.

Ottavino, 35, is entering the final year of his three-year, $27 million contract he signed with New York.  The trade gets Boston a reliable reliever to add to their bullpen and another young controllable arm in their system.  The veteran reliever struggled last season, pitching in 24 games, earning a 2-3 record with a 5.89 ERA. 

Photo courtesy of mlb.com

Despite his 5.89 ERA, Ottavino's stats are slightly deceiving from last season.  His ERA was skewed by one rough outing against the Blue Jays on Sept. 7, when he gave up six runs without recording an out.  If you take out that performance, Ottavino would have had a 2.95 ERA.  

During the 2019 season, Ottavino had a phenomenal first season with the Yankees.  In 73 games, he went 6-5 with a 1.90 ERA over 66.1 innings pitched.

During the offseason of 2018, the Red Sox were linked to Ottavino while he was a free agent.  He was coming off a great final year in Colorado and was looking to cash in with free agency.  That offseason Boston had some holes they needed to fill in their bullpen.  Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel were entering free agency following their World Series win over the Dodgers.  The Red Sox would lose Kelly to the Dodgers and Kimbrel to the Cubs.  With a some voids in their bullpen, Ottavino would have been a perfect fit.  Instead he decided to go to New York, who already had a stellar bullpen. 

Ottavino doesn't lack confidence and that will be something Red Sox fans will appreciate as they get to know him.  As a free agent, he had a classic quote that resonated with baseball fans.  In an interview with MLB Statcast podcast, he stated he "would strike out Babe Ruth every time."

"I had an argument with a coach in Triple-A about Babe Ruth's effectiveness in today's game," Ottavino said.  "I said, 'Babe Ruth, with that swing, swinging that bat, I got him hitting .140 with eight homers.' ... I'm like, 'I would strike Babe Ruth out every time."

"I'm not trying to disrespect him, you know, rest in peace, you know, shoutout to Babe Ruth.  But it was a different game.  I mean, the guy ate hot dogs and drank beer and did whatever he did.  It was just a different game."

The move to acquire Ottavino checks off a few boxes for the Red Sox.  Manager Alex Cora gets a reliable reliever for the later innings he can rely on in addition to Matt Barnes.  If this Red Sox team isn't competitive, Chaim Bloom could turn Ottavino into additional assets and prospects at the trade deadline next season.  Bloom shows with this trade with New York he isn't afraid to go against the grain.  During his short tenure in Boston, he's traded Mookie Betts and David Price and now has made a rare trade with their rivals in the Yankees. 

“I know it’s the Yankees and I understand what that means,” Bloom said.  “It’s the most storied rivalry in sports and it’s part of what makes this organization so great, getting to lock horns with those guys on a regular basis.  But if we’re not willing to do something that helps us because it also helps them, or worse, that it might not go as we expect and blows up in our faces and we look bad, then we’re just playing scared and we’re not going to play scared.”


Follow Chris on Twitter @chrishenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Boston Red Sox: Ottavino "A place I always wanted to play"
Boston Red Sox: Ottavino "A place I always wanted to play"
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