Think about how much differently we’d feel about the New York Mets right now if Adam Ottavino was in the bullpen. They’d have one less need. Even if Ottavino wasn’t projected to repeat what he did in 2023, they’d have a trusted right-handed reliever there to assist Edwin Diaz in getting those final outs.
Heading into the offseason, there was some optimism Ottavino would choose to pitch another season with the Mets. As he revealed on the Foul Territory show, uncertainty got the better of him.
Are other free agents still uncertain about the Mets?
It’s easy to say the Mets should do this or that. They should sign as many of these top-level relief pitchers as they can. Get a DH while you’re at it. It’s not so simple. If a player who has been with the organization for two consecutive seasons and experienced the highs and lows feels uncertain about the direction of the ball club, so will others.
The Mets have undoubtedly made their share of questionable offseason calls. Uncertainty has been a word used to describe the expectations for nearly every addition they’ve made. Thus far, everyone has been a gamble in one way or another.
This doesn’t necessarily mean Ottavino is happy with his decision. He has yet to sign a deal and based on how much he’s appearing on places like SNY, perhaps his interest in playing another season has waned anyway.
Current Mets players have no choice but to buy into what the club is doing. Even those roll-of-the-dice players they’ve added this offseason can get some satisfaction from knowing the Mets at least believe in them. What about everyone else?
If all of the remaining free agents still think like Ottavino did when he opted out, options will be limited. The year-to-year results for a relief pitcher can sway from one extreme to another. As nomadic of a position as it is, who wants to spend a year where you don’t think you’ll be able to have a puncher’s chance?
Players talk and some important people seem to have left the Mets at least somewhat unsatisfied. David Robertson was shocked when he was traded to Miami last summer and finished off the season poorly. Max Scherzer, who had some of the same feelings as Ottavino, was the first to open up the can on where the franchise might be headed. It turns out he was right.
Mets box scores won’t show up in the obituaries this year, but players are justified in having their doubts about exactly how competitive they can be. For Ottavino, who may have only one more season in him, he needs to pick a location carefully. This may even include some sort of a no trade clause so he doesn’t end up like his old pal Robertson.