Reliever Adam Ottavino and the New York Mets are in agreement on a two-year, $14.5 million contract, sources told ESPN, reuniting the veteran right-hander with the team for which he posted a 2.06 ERA in 66 appearances this year.
Ottavino, 37, was among the most consistent relief pitchers in the National League, regularly appearing in high-leverage situations for a Mets team that won 101 games. He often provided the eighth-inning bridge to closer Edwin Díaz, who re-signed with the Mets for $102 million earlier this offseason.
The $14.5 million guaranteed to Ottavino takes the Mets' offseason spending to $476.1 million and brings their competitive balance tax payroll to an estimated $358 million. With an additional tax bill of around $88 million, New York's current payroll is in the $446 million range -- more than $100 million higher than the previous high in baseball history.
The Mets brought back Ottavino, Díaz and center fielder Brandon Nimmo, who signed for $162 million. They also signed pitchers Justin Verlander ($86.6 million), Kodai Senga ($75 million), Jose Quintana ($26 million) and David Robertson ($10 million) to bolster a staff that lost pitchers Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker, Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Trevor Williams and Mychal Givens to free agency.
Ottavino's fastball-slider mix has proven effective for more than a decade, during which he carved out a role as a specialist against right-handed hitters. Over a dozen seasons, Ottavino has a 3.44 ERA in 625.1 innings pitched, with 727 strikeouts, 274 walks and a well-below-average home run rate.
From New York City, Ottavino was elite from 2018 to '19 before struggling in 2020-21.
His renaissance in 2022 came with newfound control. Entering the season, Ottavino walked 4.1 batters per nine innings. He nearly halved his walk rate this year, to just 2.2 per nine. At 10.8 strikeouts per nine, he exceeded his career rate there, too.