While the MLB offseason has failed to heat up for a majority of teams, the New York Yankees seem to have put their own offseason stove on full heat. Brian Cashman and company are operating on a stove in a remote location compared to the other 29 MLB teams.
With all figurative stoves aside, it really just seems unfair. The Yankees are able to make any move they want this offseason, now adding JA Happ, Troy Tulowitzki, DJ LeMahieu, and on Jan. 16, according to multiple sources such as John Hayman, the Yankees have signed relief pitcher Adam Ottavino to a three year, $27 million deal.
Ottavino, the Brooklyn, NY native, spent the last seven seasons with the Colorado Rockies and played five games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2010.
The Yankees are adding another closer-type arm to their bullpen. Ottavino joins the likes of Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Zach Britton. With this addition, the Yankees can now proudly display arguably the best bullpen in the majors.
The Yankees are adding Ottavino after he had a bounce back season. In 2017, he had a 5.06 ERA and a terrible 1.631 WHIP. Last year, Ottavino dazzled with a 2.43 ERA and a 0.991 WHIP and 112 strikeouts, a career high.
In the first half of the 2018 season, Ottavino had a 1.68 ERA.
Also, the 33-year-old can BRAG about pitching in Colorado instead of having to prove his stats against the “Coors Field Effect.”
With Ottavino, the 6th inning and on can be almost considered a lock as opposing teams will have to pass through a gauntlet of relief pitchers. Any lead the Yankees can create by the 6th inning should be safe more times than not.
Also, adding the right arm of Ottavino allows the Yankees to play more matchups this season. Chapman and Britton are left handed pitchers compared to Ottavino and Betances who both throw righty.
Now manager Aaron Boone can go batter by batter in the late innings and in the playoffs where every bullpen move is so important and closely scrutinized. Boone can expect to never have an unfavorable matchup when the game is on the line and he has to turn to his bullpen.
Two interesting things to watch with Ottavino is that he is a switch hitter and he wore number “0” in Colorado.
As for batting, he has two MLB hits and has not batted since 2013 so it is extremely unlikely to see Boone use Ottavino in a pinch hitting, switch hitting moment. Although, it would be very entertaining, he is 2 for 24 lifetime and has only ever batted as a lefty even though he is listed a switch hitter on BaseballReference.com.
The more interesting storyline is his jersey number. According to MLB Network on the show MLB Now, Ottavino wears “0” to represent his last name.
No Yankee has ever worn #0, but the number is not retired. Could we see another single-digit Yankee after 1-9 have all been retired? I’m sure there will be debates about this considering the history and all of that, but I would personally LOVE to see Ottavino wear the #0. Who knows, maybe he plays out his career in pinstripes in#0, thus forcing the Yankees to retire his number and have ALL the single-digits retired, 0-9.
He has also worn #35, #56 and #37.
Twenty-one players have worn #0 including Al Oliver, Yunel Escobar and Brandon Phillips.
Yankees fans may be disappointed that their favorite team is seemingly out of the running for Manny Machado, but they should still be proud of the moves the front office has made to support the infield and turn the bullpen from lethal to absolutely unfair.
Also, if the 7 year/$175 million contract offered by the White Sox is true, then maybe Machado could still end up in pinstripes. The Yankees should be able to put $200 million out for Machado. The fact that the market for Machado is currently $125 million less than what people expected headed into the winter may revitalize the Yankees chances.
Featured Image: NBC Sports