Mets re-sign Ottavino to 1-year deal
NEW YORK -- The Mets have reunited one of the most successful bullpen tandems in baseball. Seven weeks after signing closer Edwin Díaz to a lucrative deal, the Mets on Tuesday inked his top setup man, right-hander Adam Ottavino, to a one-year contract with a player option for the 2024 season. Terms of the deal were not announced, but the contract is worth $14.5 million guaranteed, with up to $1 million in incentives, according to multiple sources. To make room on the roster, the Mets designated right-hander William Woods for assignment.
“Adam has a long track record of success,” Mets general manager Billy Eppler said in a statement. “He was a staple for us late in games last season, which shows the trust we have in him. We’re excited to have him back.”
Ottavino joins Díaz, David Robertson and Brooks Raley at the back of New York’s rebuilt bullpen.
The 37-year-old New York City native is coming off one of his best career seasons, producing a 2.06 ERA over 66 appearances. He was particularly effective against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .161/.226/.253 slash line. Overall, Ottavino ranked in the 96th percentile or above in average exit velocity, hard-hit percentage, barrel percentage and expected slugging percentage, according to Statcast data.
A 12-year veteran who is committed to pitching for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic in March, Ottavino played for the Cardinals, Rockies, Red Sox and Yankees before arriving in Queens on a one-year deal last spring.
One of the Mets’ issues down the stretch was that manager Buck Showalter had few trustworthy options late in games aside from Ottavino, Díaz and Seth Lugo, who has a deal with the Padres. Eppler has worked this offseason to acquire additional depth, supplementing Díaz and Ottavino with a trade for Raley and a one-year deal with Robertson. The club has also brought in multiple other relievers via Minor League contracts, waiver claims, the trade market and the Rule 5 Draft.
At the start of the offseason, the Mets had only one reliever, Drew Smith, set to return from their regular 2022 bullpen. They have since corrected that issue.
Ottavino’s contract brings owner Steve Cohen’s total outlay to free agents this winter to $491.1 million in guaranteed money, while shooting his 2023 payroll north of $350 million. That does not include the tens of millions he is on the hook to pay in luxury-tax penalties.
While it’s still possible that Cohen will cross the half-billion-dollar mark in offseason spending, the Mets’ to-do list is -- at long last -- running short. The club now has a full rotation and a fortified bullpen, along with a shored-up catching situation. The Mets could still add another reliever via trade or free agency, though that’s not strictly necessary. They could also bring in an outfielder or DH type to add power to the offense.
Coaching staff taking shape
The Mets have hired Dom Chiti to replace Craig Bjornson as their bullpen coach, a source with knowledge of the plans confirmed. The team intends to announce its entire coaching staff later this offseason.
Chiti’s 30-year coaching career includes stints working for Showalter with the Rangers in 2006 and the Orioles from 2014-16.
The Mets still must replace assistant hitting coach Jeremy Barnes, who moved to the top job when Eric Chavez earned a promotion to bench coach. All of Showalter’s other coaches are returning, including pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and ex-bench coach Glenn Sherlock, who’s shifting to a different role on the staff.