4:40pm: Ottavino says he is resigned to undergoing a UCL replacement, but will see Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion, Groke further reports.
Entering the year, Ottavino was coming off of two straight seasons of quality production — over 143 1/3 innings in 2013-14, he owns a 3.08 ERA with 9.3 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9 — making him an obvious candidate to take over 9th inning duties. He earned the chance with an excellent start to the year, and had just been installed as the Colorado closer when he went down with triceps soreness.
In his 10 1/3 frames thus far in 2015, the 29-year-old righty allowed just three hits and two walks (and, unsurprisingly, no runs). On the other side of the ledger, he had already racked up 13 strikeouts.
It is unlikely that the Rockies will move to replace Ottavino with an outside addition, though perhaps a bullpen move could be made over the summer if the team is in the hunt. If Ottavino does in fact undergo the TJ procedure, Colorado will be without him until at least next summer.
The timing couldn’t be much worse for all involved. That includes, especially, Ottavino, who took home a relatively modest $1.3MM in arbitration this year. He would have stood to capture a big raise had he continued to dominate and rack up saves. For the Rockies, the loss takes away a big piece of their pen as well as a potentially significant trade chip. It also potentially sets the club up for a tough arbitration question next winter, though it seems likely that Ottavino’s price tag will be cheap enough — and his upside (including another year of control) great enough — to warrant a tender.