A day after trading for Oakland Athletics right-hander Chris Bassitt, the New York Mets have made another addition to their pitching staff. This time, the Mets have reached an agreement with free-agent right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The deal is for one year and $4 million, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.
Ottavino, 36 years old, spent last season with the Boston Red Sox after being acquired in a winter trade with the New York Yankees. (The Yankees wanted to clear budget room for other acquisitions.) In 69 appearances, he posted a 4.21 ERA (113 ERA+) and a 2.03 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has averaged more than 11 strikeouts and five walks per nine innings dating back to the start of the 2019 campaign.
Ottavino is best known for his trademark slider, the primary pitch throughout his career. It's worth noting, then, that he generated fewer swings-and-misses on the pitch last season than he had at any point since becoming a full-time big-league pitcher in 2012. Whether that's a sign of decay or simply a one-year aberration is to be determined at a later date.
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The Mets have been rumored to have interest in several other free-agent relievers, including Collin McHugh, Brad Hand, and Andrew Chafin. Owner Steve Cohen said on Sunday the Mets will "probably" exceed the highest luxury tax threshold this winter ($290 million). Ottavino's signing certainly pushes them closer to that reality, with their Competitive Balance Tax payroll now sitting around $250 million, give or take.
Ottavino and Bassitt are just the latest in what's been a busy winter for New York. Prior to the lockout, the Mets signed Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Mark Canha, and Eduardo Escobar in an effort to reach the postseason for the first time since 2016.