Mere hours after the Mets were connected to All-Star closer Liam Hendriks in the trade rumor mill, they’ve agreed to bring Adam Ottavino back to Queens.
This was something the Amazins had been hoping to do for nearly a month. Ottavino signed a very affordable one-year, $4 million deal with the Mets last March to provide bullpen depth. He went on to have a spectacular season and become a huge part of the bridge between starting pitchers and closer Edwin Diaz.
In 65.2 innings, the right-hander produced a 2.06 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with a 30.6% strikeout rate and a 6.2% walk rate. He was especially elite from June 1st through the end of the regular season. Ottavino’s first 17.2 innings led to a 4.08 ERA. His final 48 frames resulted in a 1.31 ERA.
Ottavino, who just turned 37 years old, was reportedly looking for a multi-year deal. There were predictions that he’d get what he was looking for, too. MLB Trade Rumors pegged him for a two-year, $14 million contract. The hurler got that with the Mets.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report an agreement was in place. He originally said it was a one-year deal with a club option, but it’s actually a two-year deal worth $14.5 million with an opportunity for Ottavino to opt out after 2023.
While it’s not as extensive as Hendriks, he joins Diaz and David Robertson as backend relievers with closing experience. The Mets have valued positional flexibility for the last couple of years. These three will allow manager Buck Showalter plenty of creativity when presented with various high-leverage, late-game scenarios.
Once again, this is the type of agreement the Mets prefer right now. It’s possible that Ottavino sticks around for both years, but it’s not like an annual average value of just over $7 million is going to break the bank for Steve Cohen. And if he has another terrific season like he just did in 2022, the right-hander will likely re-enter free agency.
New York’s bullpen currently has Diaz, Robertson, and Ottavino, joined by Brooks Raley and Drew Smith as definites. John Curtiss and Rule 5 selection Zach Greene both have an inside track to a spot in the ‘pen, as well. The rest could be open to competition (and maybe David Peterson and/or Tylor Megill depending on what happens with the rotation).
Now, if New York is still in on Hendriks after agreeing to terms with Ottavino, then this area of the roster will be absolutely ridiculous. You’d have to think it’s an unlikely scenario, but you can never count out these Mets.