Red Sox Notes: Ottavino, Luxury Tax, Bradley Jr.

Red Sox’ Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom addressed a number of questions about the offseason moves they have (and haven’t) made so far this winter, per the reporters present, including Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, and the Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey. The call was prompted by the club’s recent (and rare) transaction with their chief rival. Bloom noted that they looked “under the hood” at Adam Ottavino’s 2020 numbers and believe the assumption of his poor performance in 2020 may be misguided. In particular, he notes one particularly poor outing against the Blue Jays in which he surrendered six earned runs without recording an out. Take out that September 7th appearance, and Ottavino’s ERA drops from 5.89 to 2.95. Of course, that outing did happen. Even so, there’s a positive read in Ottavino’s 2020 stat line:  3.52 FIP, 3.62 SIERA, 29.4 percent strikeout rate, and 10.6 percent walk rate suggest the right-hander was close to the same guy he ’d been in 2019, when he formed an important part of the Yankees’ bullpen. Ottavino figures to play a heavy role in the back-end of Boston’s bullpen, though the dispersal of responsibilities between Ottavino and incumbent closer Matt Barnes is TBD. More from Bloom…

  • The Yankees moved Ottavino to trim enough salary to duck the $210MM luxury tax line, but according to Bloom, it’s not a foregone conclusion that the Red Sox will do the same. With Ottavino in the fold, the Red Sox luxury tax payroll appears to be around $206MM, which certainly doesn’t leave very much room to spare. While the plan is to avoid the tax, that’s not a firm mandate, Bloom notes.
  • Even taking Bloom at his word, it’s hard to imagine the Red Sox going over the luxury tax when so many teams these days work so diligently to avoid it – especially in a season where the Red Sox are largely projected to be an afterthought to the Rays, Yankees, and Blue Jays in the AL East. The Red Sox aren’t probably quite as quick to write off their 2021 season, of course. Still, it’s fair to wonder if they have the funds remaining to bring back Jackie Bradley Jr. The team remains in contact with Bradley, however, and plans to do so “until his free agency resolves.” Though your read may differ, Bloom’s passive word choice doesn’t project the picture of an aggressive forthcoming attempt to woo Bradley back to Fenway, despite his point here being that a reunion remains possible.

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Published at Mon, 25 Jan 2021 22:51:18 +0000

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