The Mets have signed righty veteran reliever Adam Ottavino to a two-year, $14.5 million deal with an opt-out after the first year, pending a physical, according to reporting from several outlets.
With this move, the Mets have brought back the second-best member of their 2022 bullpen to complement now long-term closer Edwin Díaz and setup man David Robertson, who the Mets signed earlier this month. Armed with his patented sweeping “frisbee” slider, the 37-year-old has been consistently good in his dozen years in the majors, but 2022 was one of—if not the—best season of his career. He posted a sparkling 2.06 ERA over 65 2⁄3 innings with a 188 ERA+. His strikeout rate was in line with his career norms, but he limited his walk percentage to single-digits—something he had not done since 2016. Ottavino was not only the most consistent reliever in the Mets bullpen besides Díaz, he was arguably the only consistent reliever in the Mets bullpen besides Díaz. And now he will be back in Queens for at least another year.
Though obviously far from the priciest contract Steve Cohen has handed out this offseason, this signing demonstrates not only Cohen’s continued commitment to spending to improve the roster, but also somewhat of a shift in front office philosophy when it comes to spending money on relief pitchers. It’s also worth noting that the Mets appear to be intentionally stockpiling relievers with sweeping sliders between the acquisitions of the likes of Brooks Raley, Jeff Brigham, and Jimmy Yacabonis and now bringing Adam Ottavino back into the fold.
It was also reported earlier today that the Mets are among the teams interested in White Sox closer Liam Hendriks; these rumors and the Ottavino signing are not necessarily mutually exclusive. General manager Billy Eppler hinted at more moves by the Mets in the immediate future earlier today after Justin Verlander’s introductory press conference. Any addition of more relief help supplemental to the Ottavino signing and other moves the Mets have already made would make the Mets’ bullpen among the deepest in baseball.