This move all but solidifies a juggernaut bullpen that the Yankees have been able to sustain for the past several seasons. Although losing David Robertson to free agency, the Yankees resignedZach Britton on Jan. 5 and now have added Ottavino, who is known for his wiffleball-esque slider.
The 33-year-old owns a career 3.68 ERA and 3.57 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) across eight seasons — mostly with the Colorado Rockies. Ottavino enjoyed a career season in 2018, pitching to a 2.43 ERA across 75 appearances.
He boasted a 2.74 FIP, which is even more impressive in such a hitter friendly ballpark such as Coors Field. He averaged 13 strikeouts per nine innings, pitched to a 0.99 WHIP and struck out 112 batters over 77.2 innings. Ottavino was also worth 2.6 bWAR — just above Chad Green‘s mark (2.3) and almost a whole win above Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, who each compiled 1.7 bWAR. Lastly, Ottavino’s 193 ERA+ was better than Betances’ (162) and Chapman’s (179) in 2018.
Ottavino was easily one of the best relievers on the market this offseason, and was on the Yankees radar from the beginning. Having to pay $9 million per season for one of baseball’s elite relievers last season seems like a steal on the surface.
There were questions on whether the Yankees bullpen would remain elite with some potential players that could have left at the beginning of the offseason. However, the front office has built a relief corps with arguably more talent than last year’s.