Adam Ottavino had a quietly productive, sometimes shaky, and mostly tolerable year. It seemed like a smart move to bring him back. He was a key piece in the bullpen for the New York Mets in 2022. Why replace more pieces than you need to?
Although not as magnificent this past year, having Ottavino as a setup man for 2024 seems vital for the relief pitchy-needy Mets to thrive. Losing him adds one more hole to the roster. A decision by Ottavino to stay or go will set an early tone for the offseason.
The NY Mets already need massive bullpen help even if Adam Ottavino stays
Ottavino's contract includes a player option for 2024. He's signed to a fair market value of $7.25 million. Could he step away from the Mets and earn a little more? Probably. He might even get another two-year deal with an option for 2025 at the very least.
Ottavino seemed eager to rejoin the Mets, however, a late season update spread some dark clouds over the idea of not having to renegotiate.
The decision for him might have much more to do with how he wants to end his career than money. The Mets got Max Scherzer to waive his no trade clause by suggesting their upcoming offseason wouldn't be big game hunting. If Ottavino believes next year could be his last and the Mets won't do whatever they can to compete, is it enough for him to look elsewhere?
A veteran like him, turning 38 in November, will have suitors for short-term deals. It’s beyond a matter of chasing the most money. The location, his hometown of New York, does help the Mets’ case. But what about the elusive World Series ring? Ottavino has yet to win a championship which would be the goal of many in his position coming into the very end of their career.
If Ottavino opts out, the Mets will begin their offseason against the ropes and possibly in a position where they approach the building of the bullpen differently. They should be on the look for one-year contract veterans to fill vacancies, but those targets could become smaller than the longer-term or larger impact ones we’d like to see added. We should be hopeful Ottavino opts in or at least re-signs quickly to give the team a head start. Otherwise, with the current state of the bullpen and how many changes are needed, the hill to climb could be too great.
It’s not make or break if Ottavino is on the Mets roster next year. The difference between having him or not will have a larger effect on how the front office views the team and whether or not they should push a little harder to have the best team possible or settle for some lottery tickets. He’s an early season tone setter.