Jon Heyman of the NY Post put together a piece profiling the top 30 MLB free agents this offseason, several destinations, and an expert’s take on what their salary will look like. New York Mets free agent Adam Ottavino squeezed in at the very bottom of the list as the 30th best free agent this winter.
Ottavino had a terrific season for the Mets as their eighth inning man in front of Edwin Diaz—a guy expected to get over $100 million in his deal. The much more veteran Ottavino, however, appears to have won himself a big raise.
According to the experts, whoever they are, Ottavino’s contract will be a two-year deal worth $20 million. The $10 million AAV more than doubles the $4 million the Mets paid him last season.
Mets free agent Adam Ottavino might cost more than expected
Paying a non-closer $10 million a year is a big risk. The last time the Mets did this was when they sign Jeurys Familia after the 2018 season. By this point, they had already acquired Diaz from the Seattle Mariners. Familia would be a setup man/alternative closer whenever the much younger and seemingly better Diaz was unavailable.
It didn’t work out with Familia. However, that doesn’t mean the Mets should pass on inviting Ottavino back to the party.
There aren’t too many teams that would be willing to pay Ottavino closer money to not save games. The Mets would definitely be one of them. As Heyman predicts, the Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox are two others. Ottavino has played for both before. The fourth team mentioned, the Philadelphia Phillies, make even more sense. Their offseason strategy last winter was to fill the bullpen with late-inning guys and figure out the closer spot later. With all of those veterans reaching free agency this offseason, they’ll have an opening and even more desperation if they don’t end up winning the 2022 World Series.
Building a bullpen from almost scratch will be one of the biggest challenges for Billy Eppler this offseason. The team has a whole lot of guys potentially leaving.
If money really is not issue for Steve Cohen’s ball club, the two-year $20 million deal with Ottavino shouldn’t matter. Can you put a price on putting ease on Buck Showalter’s mind? Probably not.