Report: Adam Ottavino Signing With New York Yankees

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PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 20: Relief pitcher Adam Ottavino #0 of the Colorado Rockies pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning of an MLB game at Chase Field on July 20, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Another free agent reliever is reportedly off the market. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Adam Ottavino is signing with the New York Yankees. The deal is reportedly for three years and $27 million dollars. Despite his relative lack of saves, Ottavino paced the relief market last season with 2.0 fWAR, tops among free-agent relievers. As the importance of relief pitching rises, talents like Ottavino’s are coming at a premium as his new deal shows.

Report: Adam Ottavino Signing With New York Yankees

The New York Mets recently signed Jeurys Familia for three years and $30 million when they already have the dominant Edwin Diaz as their closer. The Los Angeles Dodgers, with stalwart Kenley Jansen firmly entrenched, spent similarly, signing Joe Kelly to a three-year, $25-million dollar pact. Even perennial swingman Jesse Chavez found a multi-year deal in Texas coming off an exceptional 2018 season.

For comparison’s sake, Aroldis Chapman received a five-year, $86-million dollar contract after the 2016 season. His name might be more immediately recognizable than Ottavino’s, but a blind read of their 2018 numbers shows startling similarities.

Player A: 75 games, 77.2 innings, 2.43 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 3.13 xFIP, 5 HR, 36 BB, 112 K

Player B: 55 games, 51.1 innings, 2.45 ERA, 2.09 FIP, 2.58 xFIP, 2 HR, 30 BB, 93 K

Player A is Ottavino, B is Chapman. While Ottavino might have been a little lucky according to the metrics, the resemblance is striking. Not only is the resemblance striking but it leans in Ottavino’s favor. In addition to outpacing Chapman in fWAR 2.0 to 1.9, Ottavino leads him in bWAR as well (2.6 to 1.7). Often, when two players have similar seasons, they split the metrics. For Ottavino to lead in both tells us that at least for last season, Ottavino was every bit as good, even better, than one of the most famous relievers in the game.

A similar comparison could be done with Craig Kimbrel or David Robertson, fellow free agents this winter. Truly, aside from Blake Treinen, Edwin Diaz and Josh Hader who are in a league of their own, Ottavino’s 2018 season stands with any of them. He’s battled inconsistency in his career, never quite stringing together back-to-back healthy, dominant seasons. However, with this new deal, he’ll be given the chance to do just that, and it’s clear the Yankees are betting he can.

New York has been very busy this off-season, already signing starter J.A. Happ and reliever Zach Britton to the pitching staff. As of now, the Yankees bullpen of Britton, Ottavino, Chapman, Dellin Betances and Chad Green stands to be one of the best in baseball.

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