In a year that has seen a lot of success for the New York Mets, there has been one constant issue along the way. That would be the performance of their bullpen. There have been a lot of moving pieces with injuries and players getting designated for assignment. The guys who pitch in the 8th and 9th innings when the Mets have the lead, those do not change.
Adam Ottavino has become a diamond in the rough for the Mets bullpen
When the Metropolitans acquired closer Edwin Diaz from the Seattle Mariners prior to the 2019 season, the expectations for him were very high. New York was forced to give up top prospect Jarred Kelenic along with other pieces, while also taking on the expensive contract of Robinson Cano, just to acquire the reliever who was coming off of a 57 save season in 2018 for Seattle. While it may have taken a little longer than expected, Diaz is pitching like the guy we all thought he would be, which is arguably the best closer in the game.
Adam Ottavino started his career in Colorado pitching for the Rockies. The right hander showed spurts of greatness but never really figured things out until 2018 when he had a career year, striking out 112 batters in less than 80 innings, pitching to a 2.43 earned run average. In 2019, Ottavino signed with the New York Yankees and continued his success, finishing that year with a 1.90 ERA in 66.1 innings pitched.
Once reaching his mid 30s in age, the struggles for the New York City native returned. Ottavino did not have a good year in 2020 during the COVID shortened season and then signed with the Red Sox in 2021 where he would have an ERA that was above four.
Following the 2021 season, the Mets lost one of their best relievers in Aaron Loup, creating a lot of speculation on how they would handle the rest of their bullpen, behind Edwin Diaz, moving forward. Well sure enough, along came 36 year old Adam Ottavino. Guys like Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Drew Smith, and Joely Rodriguez have been way too inconsistent for Buck Showalter to be trusting them with holding onto a lead in the 8th inning so Ottavino has stepped up to the challenge and been outstanding in every way.
Since June 1st, Ottavino has only allowed six earned runs in over 33 innings on the mound. For the Mets to sign a reliever giving that kind of production, in the middle of a pennant race, to just a $4 million contract is an absolute steal for New York.
It has been a really long time since the New York Mets have had, not just one, but two reliable arms in the back end of their bullpen. The rest of the staff might be shaky at times, but when you have a starting rotation that includes Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, the recipe for success is as simple as it gets.