Jan. 24, 5:04 PM: The Yankees have officially announced Ottavino’s deal, with his 40-man roster spot having been cleared by the trade of Sonny Gray to the Reds.
Jan. 17: The second of Brian Cashman’s relievers appears to be headed to the Bronx, as The Athletic‘s Robert Murray reports the Yankees and Adam Ottavino are close to a 3-year deal in the $25 million range. Jon Heyman of Fancred reports the deal is for three years at $27 million total.
Ottavino was a top-10 pitcher in terms of fWAR for the Colorado Rockies in 2018, pitching to a 2.43 ERA (2.74 FIP) and striking out 12.98 batters per nine innings. The 33-year-old recorded 34 holds for the Rockies, as well as six saves. He recorded 32 of what Fangraphs calls “shutdowns,” which indicate the player’s performance in a certain game increased his teams chance of winning by 6%. Plus, he’s poised to make Yankees uniform history as the first player to wear No. 0.
The Yankees have prioritized relief pitching in each of the past few seasons, always looking to make things tougher on their opponents as it becomes later in games. Ottavino fits the Yankees pitching profile as he only throws his four-seam fastball 1.3% of the time. Ottavino relies on 5 pitches: Slider (46.8%), Sinker (41.9%), Cutter (9.8%), Four Seamer (1.3%), Changeup (0.2%).
This contract carries a $9 million average annual value, and that’s what matters in terms of the competitive balance tax. I have a feeling that Ottavino took less money in order to become a New York Yankee. He was born in New York, and was in the stands for David Wells‘s perfect game in 1998. Plus, he jumps from the altitude of Coors Field in Colorado into the fire of the American League East in the Bronx.
Ottavino now completes what could easily be called the most dominant back end of any bullpen in all of major-league baseball right now. With 27 days until pitchers and catchers report to Tampa, Yankees fans can feel good about their relief pitching corps.