The Indians announced today that they’ve extended right-handed reliever Dan Otero, agreeing to a two-year contract extension with a club option for a third year. The contract will buy out the ACES client’s final two years of arbitration eligibility and also give the team control over his first free-agent year. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports (via Twitter) that Otero will be guaranteed $2.5MM on the deal. He’ll earn $1.1MM in 2018, $1.3MM in 2019 and has a $1.5MM club option with a $100K buyout. Otero can also earn $100K annually in bonuses tied to games finished.
Otero had already agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.3MM for the 2018 season this past Friday, so this new agreement will supersede that deal. It’s an eye-opener to see Otero agree to surrender a free-agent season for a minimal guarantee when he already had that deal in place, though it’s worth noting that arbitration deals like the one he agreed to last week aren’t fully guaranteed.
This contract, though, will afford Otero at least $2.5MM — a sum he wouldn’t have thought possible prior to the 2016 season when he was an unheralded waiver claim by the Indians. Set to turn 33 in February and with just over $3MM in career earnings to date, it seems that Otero simply prioritized taking the best guarantee that Cleveland was willing to offer.
While that’s not difficult to understand from a human perspective, the deal looks like a favorable one for the Indians from a baseball standpoint. Otero won’t blow anyone away with a fastball that averages just 90 mph, but he’s worked to an excellent 2.14 ERA in his 130 2/3 innings with Cleveland over the past two seasons. In that time, he’s averaged 6.5 K/9 against 1.3 BB/9 with just 0.6 HR/9 and a 63 percent ground-ball rate.