I wrote an article the other day talking about the Dodgers reportedly being interested in signing free-agent reliever Kirby Yates. The former Padres closer is on the market and he’d be a great addition to an already great bullpen.
Aside from Yates, there aren’t really a lot of attractive names in the reliever free-agent market. As I noted the other day, the Dodgers could stand pat and enter 2021 with what they have. Although they’re looking good, there are a lot of question marks, though.
Here’s a name I’m sure you didn’t think of all offseason, and it might not be a name Andrew Friedman has thought of either. Adam Ottavino.
The reason you haven’t heard his name is because he isn’t a free-agent. He’s currently with the New York Yankees and has one year left on his contract. The right-handed pitcher is set to make $8 million in 2021, which is a pretty good price for a pitcher of his caliber. So, why would the Yankees think about moving him?
Well, it looks like New York is still trying to spend money and improve their team, and getting rid of Ottavino’s $8 million would be a great start. According to Andy Martino, there’s a possibility the Yankees can move him to free up salary to go after another starting pitcher.
In addition, Buster Olney also talked about the Yankees potentially dealing him in order to create space and get under the competitive balance tax. He even mentioned that they could potentially eat some of the salary to move him.
If that’s the case, Friedman should immediately be on the phone with New York.
I’ll put it kindly. Ottavino was awful in 2020. He had arguably the worst season of his career. In 24 games, he posted an ERA of just below 6.00 and just didn’t look like the pitcher he did in previous years. From 2018 through 2019, he posted an ERA of 2.19 with a 3.06 FIP, 1.139 WHIP and 212 ERA+. He also averaged 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings. And he did this pitching at Coors Field and Yankee Stadium!
Going all the way back to 2013, Ottavino has posted an ERA of 2.90, one of the best among relievers during that stretch. For the most part, he’s been one of the best relievers in baseball on a year-to-year basis.
He’ll be 35 this year, and has one year left on his contract. After an awful 2020 campaign, this is the lowest his value will likely ever be (assuming he doesn’t suck again in 2021). Who knows how willing the Yankees truly are to trading him, and who knows if the Dodgers would even be interested.
It’s the offseason, and I’m craving transactions just like you. Ottavino was a name a few seasons ago that I really wanted the Dodgers to go after. If they strike out on Kirby Yates, and are still looking to add another solid bullpen arm, this would be a match made in heaven.