NEW YORK — The busy New York Mets added an experienced arm to their bullpen, signing Adam Ottavino to a one-year, $4 million contract.
The veteran right-hander can earn another $1 million in performance bonuses.
Ottavino, who grew up in Brooklyn and has lived in New York City during previous offseasons, returns to pitch for a hometown team again. He spent 2019-20 with the Yankees before they traded him to Boston, where he went 7-3 with a 4.21 ERA and 11 saves in 69 appearances last year. He struck out 71 and walked 35 in 62 innings, then became a free agent.
The 36-year-old Ottavino, who features a sharp-breaking slider, is 32-31 with a 3.60 ERA and 30 saves in 11 major league seasons with the Cardinals, Rockies, Yankees and Red Sox.
New York is looking for a lefty to replace Aaron Loup, who had an outstanding 2021 season with the Mets (6-0, 0.95 ERA) before signing with the Los Angeles Angels in November.
Eager to win under free-spending owner Steve Cohen, the Mets have been active since the Major League Baseball lockout ended last week – just as they were before rosters were frozen in early December.
They acquired All-Star starting pitcher Chris Bassitt from Oakland for a pair of minor league pitching prospects. He joins a rotation headlined by Jacob deGrom and newcomer Max Scherzer, who was signed Dec. 1 as part of a $254.5 million spending spree by Cohen that also netted center fielder Starling Marte, outfielder Mark Canha and third baseman Eduardo Escobar.
The Mets also have a new manager in Buck Showalter and general manager in Billy Eppler.
Ottavino set career highs in saves and wins last season. He tied for the American League lead with 22 holds and was the only AL pitcher with at least 10 saves and 20 holds.
The 6-foot-5 Ottavino has limited right-handed hitters to a .213 batting average throughout his career. He also faced 101 lefty batters last year and did not allow a home run.
Ottavino was 8-8 with a 2.76 ERA and 113 strikeouts over 84 2/3 innings during his two seasons with the Yankees. He has fanned 296 batters in 224 1/3 innings over the past four years.
Ottavino would get a $100,000 bonus for pitching 30 innings, $125,000 each for 35 and 40 innings, $150,000 each for 45 and 50 innings, and $175,000 each for 55 and 60 innings.