Yankees Sign Ottavino
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The Yankees have put the finishing touches on the most frightening bullpen in MLB history. Today they came to terms with relief pitcher Adam Ottavino on a 3 year/$27 million deal. The 33-year old right-hander is coming off of a career-best season for the Colorado Rockies that saw him go 6-4 with a 2.43 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings. Ottavino is known for having one of the nastiest sliders in the game, but this past season, his sinker may have developed into his most effective pitch. In terms of strikeout percentage, his sinker jumped from 16.3% in 2017 to 41% in 2018. Pair that with his slider -- 38.5% and 35% the past two years -- and he has one of the best combinations of pitches in the league.
Ottavino is somebody that Yankees fans have been asking for all off-season long. Partly due to the fact that he's a native New Yorker, and showed interest in playing for the team. Partly because it would give the Yankees another incredible arm in what was already the league's best bullpen. Also because he came out earlier this off-season and said if he pitched against Babe Ruth he would strike him out every time. Obviously, Babe is one of the all-time great Yankees, but for Ottavino to have the confidence to say that -- which is probably true, if we're being honest -- shows that he's Yankee material.
As I stated above, the Yankees now have the best bullpen in the league, and arguably the best bullpen that has ever been assembled. Here are the stats from last season of the Yankees' 6-headed monster:
Aroldis Chapman: 3-0, 2:45 ERA, 51 1/3 IP, 93 K, 1.052 WHIP, 16.3 K/9
Dellin Betances: 4-6, 2.70 ERA, 66 2/3 IP, 115 K, 1.050 WHIP, 15.5 K/9
Zach Britton: 2-0, 3.10 ERA, 40 2/3 IP, 34 K, 1.230 WHIP, 7.5 K/9
Adam Ottavino: 6-4, 2.43 ERA, 77 2/3 IP, 112 K, 0.991 WHIP, 13 K/9
Chad Green: 8-3, 2.50 ERA, 75 2/3 IP, 94 K, 1.044 WHIP, 11.2 K/9
Jonathan Holder: 1-3, 3.14 ERA, 66 IP, 60 K, 1.091 WHIP, 8.2 K/9
This super-pen gives the Yankees a lot of flexibility when it comes to the final few innings of any given game. If Chapman has been used on back-to-back days and they want to give him a rest, Britton can close. If Betances needs a day of rest, Britton or Ottavino can set-up for Chapman. If their starter only goes four innings, they can close out a game with Green, Ottavino, Britton, Betances and Chapman all pitching an inning each. The possibilities are endless.
The only concern that any fan can have with this signing is the heart attacks we are all going to suffer while watching Gary Sanchez try to catch Ottavino's slider. Luckily, this signing was made well before pitchers and catchers report, so Sanchez will have plenty of time to get used to Ottavino's pitches.
In what has been considered a failure of an off-season for the Yankees -- since they haven't signed Manny Machado or Bryce Harper -- they keep making smart moves that do nothing but improve a team that is coming off of a 100-win season. While the rival Red Sox have re-signed Nathan Eovaldi and given Mookie Betts a big arbitration settlement, the Yankees have 'quietly' added James Paxton, Troy Tulowitzki, DJ LeMahieu and Ottavino while re-signing Zach Britton, J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner. If they could manage to hand out some cash for one of Machado or Harper, this division is theirs to lose.
PS. Ottavino is a low-key genius for wearing the number 0. It’s not known yet if he’s going to wear that for the Yankees. But it’s literally the only single digit number that hasn’t been retired by the team. Well played, Adam. Well played.
PPS: It's awesome seeing how much this actually means to Ottavino and his family. There's nothing a fan wants more than a player that truly wants to play for their team. It also helps when that player is as good as Ottavino is.
Hot Take Alert: The Yankees have now signed Troy Tulowitzki, DJ LeMahieu and Adam Ottavino. Either they're interested in re-naming their team the New York Rockies, or they are getting the band together in an attempt to sign Nolan Arenado next off-season.
Source: Chris Carlson/AP