Ahead of their 101-win season in 2022, the Mets signed Adam Ottavino to a one-year deal, a relatively low-risk move that didn’t necessarily look like it would have a significant impact on the team. At the time, Ottavino had come off a 2021 season that saw him finish with a 4.21 ERA that gave him a cumulative 4.59 ERA between that season and the pandemic-shortened one in 2020. He had really good seasons to his name—his 1.90 ERA with the Yankees in 2019 being one of the very best—but was heading into his age-36 season in his first year with the Mets.
With Edwin Dīaz putting together one of the best relief pitcher seasons anyone’s ever seen that year, Ottavino threw 65.2 innings with a 2.06 ERA and a 2.85 FIP. In almost any other Mets season, those numbers would have been the team’s best. Coming off that season, the Mets inked Ottavino to a reasonable contract that paid $7.75 million for the 2023 season and includes a player option for $6.75 million for the 2024 season with no buyout.
Unfortunately, with Díaz out for the entire 2023 season, Ottavino didn’t replicate his 2022 performance this year. His strikeout rate dropped from 30.6 percent to 23.8 percent, and his walk rate jumped from 6.2 percent to 11.1 percent. He still logged 61.2 innings but finished the season with a 3.21 ERA and a 4.52 FIP, the latter of which was his worst single-season mark since his bad 2017 season in Colorado. And in terms of WPA, Ottavino fared poorly, coming in near the bottom of the team’s bullpen in that metric thanks to some poorly-timed bad outings. It all made for a season that wasn’t disastrous but wasn’t a smashing success.
Given all of that, it would be surprising if Ottavino didn’t pick up his player option for next year. If he does, he’d be one of the Mets’ better in-house bullpen arms, one that they should look to bump down at least a couple of spots in the pecking order if they plan on contending for a postseason spot next year.