As the Mets look to rebuild their bullpen, the team is hoping to bring back veteran Adam Ottavino, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Puma adds that Ottavino is thought to be seeking a multi-year deal, while the Mets are looking to keep it to a one-year guarantee.
Ottavino, 37, was a terrific setup man in Queens last year, tossing 65 2/3 innings of 2.06 ERA relief work. He halved his walk rate from a year earlier in Boston, dropping from 12.7% to post a 6.2% rate in 2023 while still maintaining a strong 30.6% strikeout rate. He also posted a 51.9% ground-ball rate, his best figure since 2016.
It was a bounce back year for the Brooklyn-native, who’d struggled in his previous two campaigns. Signed to a three-year, $27MM deal by the Yankees in 2019 after a number years of quality relief work in Colorado, Ottavino was dominant in his first season in the Bronx, pitching to a 1.90 ERA in 66 1/3 innings. He took a major step back a year later, winding up with a 5.89 ERA in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. That prompted the Yankees to flip him to the rival Red Sox, and while there was some improvement, his 4.21 ERA in 62 innings was still well short of his best.
That allowed the Mets to sign him to a modest $4MM guarantee for 2022, and he’ll surely be seeking a significant raise on that figure this winter. As Puma notes, the Mets believe Ottavino enjoys pitching in his hometown, but it’s unclear if that’d be enough for him to forgo a possible multi-year deal elsewhere if the Mets are only willing to offer him a one-year deal.
The Mets are rebuilding their bullpen after the departures of Ottavino, Seth Lugo, Trevor Williams, Mychal Givens, Trevor May and Joely Rodriguez to free agency. They’ve already re-signed Edwin Diaz to record-breaking contract, while they’ve claimed Stephen Ridings from the Yankees and acquired Jeff Brigham and Elieser Hernandez from the Marlins. There’s still work to do though, particularly in the high-leverage spots so the Mets have plenty of motivation to try and bring back Ottavino.
Just about any contending club could do with a bullpen arm like Ottavino, so the veteran should have plenty of interest. MLBTR predicted a two-year, $14MM guarantee, and the likes of the Brewers, Yankees, Phillies, Braves, Giants and Blue Jays could have interest among many others.