As New York Mets fans stare at the projected Opening Day bullpen and refresh the page hoping to see some changes, we wonder how David Stearns will spend the reported final $10 million he has left to play with. If $10 million is all the Mets have left to spend, at best they can land two mid-tier bullpen arms.
Curiously, two former Mets relievers remain out there in free agency with no notable attention thrown on them. Both Adam Ottavino and David Robertson have yet to sign. What’s going on with those two?
Did Adam Ottavino and David Robertson retire?
Ottavino has been much more in the public eye this offseason, but not as a free agent target. After opting out of the $6.75 million owed to him in 2024, Ottavino has remained visible in places like on SNY and recently on the MLB Network.
At 38-years-old, we can see why Ottavino may be done with baseball. However, after a successful season, some team would be bound to sign him to the $6.75 million he left on the table after opting out of his deal with the Mets, right?
Maybe not. The free agent class of relievers remains heavy and with the fear of him hitting that wall most players do as they near 40, teams may prefer to have the flexibility of an unknown and optional pitcher than a guy Ottavino’s age coming off of a 61.2 inning campaign. Ottavino hasn’t declared himself retired and yet for him to remain on television as an analyst this long into free agency seems peculiar especially when his name doesn’t seem to ever get brought up in offseason rumors.
Then there’s Robertson who turns 39 in early April. Looking back at his time with the Mets last year, it’s easy to already forget how good he was. A 4-2 record and 2.05 ERA in 44 innings of work stabilized them during the loss of Edwin Diaz. It was only his trip to the Miami Marlins for the final two months of the season that struck any fear into teams thinking he might be cooked. He still managed to finish with numbers almost equal to Ottavino, including a 3.03 ERA in 65.1 innings of work.
Someone would surely see Robertson as a back of the bullpen option, right?
The free agent reliever market is often the toughest to predict. Even with a superstar like Josh Hader out there, the number of teams willing to meet his asking price is slim. Quantifying years and dollars for relievers is tricky when sometimes a team wants more than what a player has done in the past. They also want the ability to have roster flexibility.
Needless to say, Robertson will be looking at far less than the $10 million the Mets paid him last season to be their Diaz insurance. For all we know, he’ll pop up somewhere on TV alongside Ottavino ranking utility men before the month is through.