After what had been a slow offseason in terms of acquiring players, the Red Sox have made some moves over the last week. They reportedly agreed to sign free agents Kiké Hernández and Garrett Richards. On Monday, they traded for relief pitcher Adam Ottavino and minor leaguer Frank German from the Yankees for cash consideration and a player to be named later.
By trading for Ottavino, the Red Sox get a pitcher who will likely take the mound in late-inning situations. The 6-f00t-5 right-hander has spent 10 seasons in the majors. Ottavino, 35, has pitched for the Cardinals, Rockies, and Yankees.
Here are 5 things to know about Adam Ottavino.
Ottavino is one of the very few players to ever be a part of a trade between the Red Sox and Yankees.
When the news broke of the trade being agreed to on Monday, the shock wasn’t the players that were involved. The attention turned to the fact that the Red Sox and Yankees, who hold arguably the biggest rivalry in all of North American sports, agreed to a trade.
The move marks just the sixth time the two rivals have made a trade since 1969. The last time the two teams cut a deal with each other was in 2014, when the Red Sox shipped shortstop Stephen Drew to the Yankees for infielder Kelly Johnson.
When speaking to reporters for the first time since the trade on Tuesday, Ottavino poked fun at being a part of something so rare.
“I feel like I’m gonna end up a trivia question now probably one day,” Ottavino said. “When (Yankees general manager Brian) Cashman told me Red Sox, that was not the name I expected. I knew I could be traded, but I definitely didn’t expect that. So it’s kind of fun to be a part of something a little out of the ordinary.”
Ottavino has played in Massachusetts before.
Ottavino is no stranger to Boston.
The New York native opted to attend college at Northeastern University. While pitching for Northeastern’s baseball team from 2004-06, Ottavino set the program record for most strikeouts in a season twice, recording 106 strikeouts in 2005 and 120 in 2006. Aaron Civale, who know pitches for the Indians, broke Ottavino’s record in 2016.
One of Ottavino’s Northeastern records still stands. His 290 career strikeouts is still the most in program history.
Ottavino told reporters that when he was at Northeastern, he attended Red Sox games at Fenway Park regularly. He said he would try to get standing room tickets whenever Pedro Martinez or Curt Schilling played.
Ottavino grew an appreciation for the city during his time in college.
“Growing up in New York, you look at Boston as something different,” Ottavino said. “But when I got there, I really appreciated the passion all my classmates and teammates had as big Boston sports fans. … I was there through the breaking of the curse and through a lot of really high times in Boston sports history. So I definitely understand what that’s all about. As for the city itself, it’s a great place. My wife went to grad school at Harvard. It’s a special place for us. We try to go there as much as we possibly can and enjoy it every time we are there.”
In the summer of 2005, Ottavino played for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League. The St. Louis Cardinals selected him in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft.
Ottavino’s father, John, is an actor who has played small roles in some big movies.
During his childhood days in Brooklyn, Ottavino and his dad, John, would play baseball at one of the fields located in Prospect Park until it got dark out.
John Ottavino took up coaching his son’s baseball teams as he grew up, but his main job remained in entertainment. John Ottavino is an actor who’s appeared in shows, movies, and Broadway plays.
When Ottavino was a kid, his father held small roles in TV shows such as “The Equalizer,” “NYPD Blue,” “Law & Order,” and “Law & Order SVU.” The elder Ottavino has also appeared in movies such as “Malcolm X” and “Revolutionary Road.”
Ottavino had arguably the worst season of his career in 2020.
The Red Sox appear to be buying low on Ottavino. The reliever might have had his worst season in 2020. In 24 relief appearances, Ottavino had a 5.89 ERA and a 2-3 record.
However, the 2020 season was an unusual one. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the start to be pushed back to late July and teams only played 60 games — 102 games fewer than the usual regular-season schedule.
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom wasn’t deterred by Ottavino’s 2020 performance, and he may have a good reason not to be. Ottavino arguably had the most impressive season of his career in 2019, notching a career-best 1.90 ERA.
“Bottom line, we think we just acquired someone who’s really capable of pitching in any kind of late-inning situation,” Bloom told reporters Monday. “How that shakes out as far as who closes, that’s something we’re still going to discuss. But it’s just nice to have somebody with experience doing it and experience pitching in those situations to add to our mix and then figure it out from there.”
Ottavino has regularly worn the No. 0 in his career.
Ottavino started his major league career in St. Louis, but never had a full-time jersey number due to movement between the minors and majors.
Once he got to Colorado, Ottavino found a jersey number he liked: 0. Ottavino wore the jersey No. 0 with the Rockies beginning in 2013, becoming the first player in franchise history to wear the number.
When Ottavino signed with the Yankees in 2019, he decided to stick with his jersey number. He became the first player in Yankees history to wear No. 0, which is the only single-digit number that isn’t retired by the ballclub.
If Ottavino wears No. 0 with the Red Sox, he won’t be the first player in team history to do that. Brandon Phillips rocked the jersey number during his briefs stint with the team in 2018.
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