Adam Ottavino decided to opt out of his deal with the New York Mets after an attempt at restructuring the deal. He had a far more inconsistent season in 2023 for the team with some favorable overall numbers. Thrust into a bigger role due to the injury suffered by Edwin Diaz, Ottavino had some very good and some very bad days on the mound.
It does seem that if the Mets weren’t willing to restructure his deal that a reunion is unlikely. This leaves the Mets with a bullpen situation you wouldn’t wish about your worst enemy; well, maybe the Atlanta Braves.
How can the Mets go about replacing Ottavino? We’re looking for a high-leverage and late inning arm. Any of these three could be suitable options for the Mets.
1) Reynaldo Lopez
Reynaldo Lopez might be the best relief pitcher available on the market this offseason who isn’t expected to get a closer job. He falls behind only Josh Hader on most people’s lists. Coming off a crazy year which saw him play for three teams, Lopez managed to finish with a 3.27 ERA on the year while getting better at each stop.
For Lopez, it’s important to skip past his career numbers and look strictly at what he has done in the bullpen. He failed as a starter for the Chicago White Sox and managed to turn into a very good bullpen asset. He’s 14-12 with a 3.01 ERA in 164.1 career innings in relief.
Age suits Lopez well in this year’s free agent class as he won’t turn 30 until January. A three or possibly even four-year contract could be something he demands. Those lengthier deals for non-closer relief pitchers can be tough to bite. I can’t look at a three-year deal for a middle reliever or setup man without thinking of Jeurys Familia’s return to the Mets in 2019.
Is a four-year deal too much for him? The Mets should tread lightly. They don’t want to get stuck with his best years happening before the rest of the team is truly ready to win.