MLB Hot Stove News, Reports, & Rumors
Red Sox Get Relief from Yankees
You would have to go all the way back to 2014 to find out the last time these ancient AL East rivals found common ground on a trade agreement. Boston dealt Stephen Drew to New York in exchange for the immortal Kelly Johnson. You remember that, right? Both were infielders and both were spare parts in organizations that felt a change of scenery would do them good.
However, this trade is more about a salary dump for the Yankees and a helping hand in the bullpen for Boston. The Red Sox acquired right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino and righty Frank German – a 2018 fourth-round pick with plenty of upside – in return for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Oh, and the Bombers also gave the Red Sox $850,000 to put towards Ottavino’s $9 million salary.
The 35-year-old New York native had one horrendous outing against the Blue Jays last year in which he surrendered six runs without registering an out that spiked his stats over the abbreviated 2020 season. Ottavino would have had a 2.95 ERA last season had he not been torched instead of the bloated 5.89 ERA he ended with over 24 appearances.
“I’m very excited,” Ottavino said. “I was a little surprised today when I got the news, but all things considered, Boston is always a place I wanted to play. I went to school there, felt really comfortable in Fenway and all that good stuff. I’m really excited to bring what I bring. Hopefully, I can do my thing out of the bullpen and help us win some ball games.”
Ottavino has been primarily used as a set-up man over his career but does have 19 saves on his record. Whether he gets the opportunity to close in Boston remains unknown but if the side-winding pitcher can bring his 2019 form to the table, this looks like a good deal for Boston.
However, the oddsmakers remain unimpressed with this upcoming iteration of the Red Sox as the MLB odds are revealing that New York (-185) is heavily favored to win the division followed by the Rays (+375), Jays (+425), and then Boston at +1600 with the Orioles trailing the field at +6600.
Is Tanaka Exiting Yankees for Return to Japan?
The New York Yankees, like every other Major League team, can’t get enough pitching but they might be searching for a replacement for free-agent starter, Masahiro Tanaka. The 32-year-old righty ended the 2020 campaign with a 3-3 record, 3.56 ERA, and a 1.17 WHIP and has spent seven seasons in a New York uniform after being wooed away from Japan’s Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles back in 2013.
According to reports, Tanaka might be amenable to returning to his native Japan or even signing a pact with the New York Mets to remain in Gotham. The snag relates to the Yankees’ negotiations with All-Star second baseman and reigning AL batting champ, DJ LeMahieu, and whether they can come to terms with him. LeMahieu is the Pinstripers’ top priority but if they let Tanaka hang too long he could be out the door either pitching against the Yankees or back with the Golden Eagles.
Tanaka wrote (translated from Japanese), “At this stage, we are not limiting the teams we want to play [for] next season, but we are thinking [about] all the teams that are interested in us.”
Mets Make Offer to Bauer
Trevor Bauer is one of the most sought-after free agents and the Mets want to lock him up for several years if possible. However, it wasn’t long ago when the Reds traded with the Indians to secure his services that he was only interested in signing a one-year deal.
But after a CY Young season in 2020, Bauer is shooting for the moon with numbers being tossed about like $36-$40 million annually over a five- or six-year period. Last year Bauer expressed the following, “I want to be on a contender every year because I love competing at the highest level and the highest level is the World Series,” he said. “So, I want to have a chance to go to the World Series every single year. And the way baseball is currently structured, there’s not many teams that go into spring training trying to win the World Series that year.”
Are the Mets positioned to be that championship-winning team? If they can convince Bauer that they are then they could have a bona fide ace pitching at Citi Field this season.