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The Mets bring back Adam Ottavino

The one-year deal is worth $4.5 million

New York Mets v Miami Marlins Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images

The Mets continue to address their bullpen by bringing back veteran reliever Adam Ottavino on a one-year, $4.5 million contract, per multiple sources. The deal is pending a physical.

2024 will mark Ottavino’s third year with the club. Otto’s 2022 campaign was an excellent one, where he appeared in 66 games, putting up a 2.06 ERA while striking out 10.8 batters per nine innings, good for an ERA+ of 188.

2023 was a less successful, though not exactly bad, season for Ottavino, who appeared, again, in 66 games, but had more trouble with his control, which led to a nearly doubled walk rate (4.2 BB/9 to 2.2 in 2022) and fewer strikeouts (62 in ‘23, 79 in ‘22). In 2023, he was also part of the crew that closed games in the wake of Edwin Díaz’s absence, notching a career high 12 saves.

Over the course of his career, the 38 year old Ottavino has been a consistent late-inning reliever who can close games if needed and whose durability is a huge source of his value. For a very inexperienced and/or bad bullpen on paper, Otto’s return gives the club some stability and depth.

Where this story gets odd is how this particular contract got signed.

Back in November, Ottavino declined a player option worth $6.75 million, citing the changeover in the Mets’ organizational chart, specifically with Buck Showalter and Billy Eppler leaving the organization. He also said that, going into his age 39 season, he wanted to make sure that the Mets were committed to competing in 2024. While Ottavino always said that he could see himself returning, he wanted to keep his options open.

The fact that Ottavino signed a new deal worth more than $2 million less than his option shows that his options, perhaps, were not as plentiful as he had first thought. It also appears that either the front office is talking a big game about 2024, or Otto is a true believer in the roster that David Stearns has put together. Maybe he’s a big Sean Manaea fan?