The Red Sox should call Adam Ottavino ASAP
Another day, another dreary outlook on the upcoming season thanks to the lockout. No news, no exciting new signings, and especially nothing fun baseball-wise as Christmas quickly approaches. As Red Sox Nation sits here wondering what could’ve been in regards to the 2021 season, it’s a bit of a challenge to think about the future considering we have no idea when the train will get back on the tracks. However, we can’t live in the past, and so, let’s force ourselves to think about 2022!
We all know what needs to be addressed this offseason and the bullpen is right near the top of the shopping list. There’s a strong foundation still in Boston but Chaim Bloom will still need to go out and find some toys for Alex Cora to play with. While the Red Sox front office could bring in plenty of new faces I think one of the relievers they should call as soon as they can is Adam Ottavino.
Even with the fire sale before the lockout went into effect Otto remained on the free-agent board and is one of the better arms still available. His time in Boston was a bit of a rollercoaster as he could have stretches of being absolutely lights-out and others where his slider looked like a beach ball coming to the plate. Despite some of the inconsistencies, I’ll still take him in our bullpen every night of the week.
So, how exactly did Ottavino do in his one year in Boston, let’s take a look! Through 62 IP, the righty totaled a 4.21 ERA, 3.71 xERA, and a 3.96 FIP. Not bad but also not up to the levels we saw from him in his last full season with the Yankees in 2019, 66.1 IP/1.90 ERA/ 3.08 xERA/ 3.44 FIP. Still, considering some of the names we’ve seen the Red Sox trot out from the bullpen over the last two seasons, Otto looks like Cy Young.
Ottavino is one of those players that has divided the fanbase, you either love him or hate him, no indifference. Personally, I became a fan of him this season and believe that he could be a big asset for Cora going forward. His 0.5 WAR was in the Top-5 for Red Sox relievers in 2021 and I wouldn’t hate having that back in the bullpen.
The 11-year veteran came to Boston thanks to a Yankees salary dump and I think it’s safe to say that Chaim got the better end of that trade, as usual. After the end of the season, Otto spoke to WEEI’s Rob Bradford and didn’t hide how much he enjoyed his time in Boston and his willingness to return for 2022.
The righty is now 36 years old and I doubt the Sox would want to give him a big-money deal. I could easily see something in the realm of a two-year/$16M, which is right on par with what he’s earned in the past. This would secure him a few more years of good money to finish off his career and would also afford him the chance at winning a ring before he’s all done.
He’s projected to do a bit better this upcoming season compared to what he did in 2021 with a 52% reliability rate. I still like the idea of partnering him with Garrett Whitlock and Matt Barnes in a three-pronged attack to end the game. This bullpen is much better with Ottavino in it than it is without him.
Bringing back players can be a mixed bag, especially as fans are concerned. Some like to see the new faces every season while others want that stability and familiarity. Depending on the player I can fall on either side of the coin. In regards to Otto, I want him back as he’s a hell of a reliever. He knows the roster, the coaching staff, and the organization. He may have only been here for a single season but he’s more than earned his shot at another run in Boston.