SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Mets’ already shallow bullpen depth took a hit Monday when righthander Adam Ottavino declined the player option on his contract for 2024, choosing instead to become a free agent.
Ottavino said near the end of last season that he planned to come back. But recent conversations with president of baseball operations David Stearns — including a breakfast last month and attempted contract negotiations over the weekend — left him believing he’d be better off seeing what other opportunities exist.
Although he did not rule out a return to the Mets, he acknowledged that it wasn’t the same without former manager Buck Showalter, who “empowered” and “protected” Ottavino, Ottavino said.
“I don’t feel any ill will toward anybody,” he said in a phone interview with Newsday, calling the free-agency decision “kind of a no-brainer.” “I still would re-sign with the Mets if the offer were there. But at the moment, it makes sense for me to hear from other teams. It’s kind of a bummer.”
Over the weekend, before the Monday deadline for him to decide, Ottavino made two pitches to the Mets. In one scenario, he’d tack on a year to his contract. In another, he’d turn his $6.75 million salary with $4 million deferred to starting in 2032 into a lower total number with no deferments.
Stearns didn’t bite on either option, Ottavino said. He added that Stearns also couldn’t promise that he wouldn’t trade Ottavino.
“I just wanted to see where I stood with him,” Ottavino said.
Ottavino, who turns 38 this month, had a 3.21 ERA and 1.22 WHIP last season.
The Mets exercised, as expected, their $6.5 million team option on lefthander Brooks Raley.
Kodai Senga is a finalist for NL Rookie of the Year, which will be announced Monday. He is up against the Diamondbacks’ Corbin Carroll, the presumed favorite, and the Dodgers’ James Outman.
Senga was not a favorite, however, for NL Cy Young Award. That honor will go to one of Blake Snell (Padres), Zac Gallen (Diamondbacks) and Logan Webb (Giants).
Mets add local product
The Mets claimed infielder Zack Short off waivers from the Tigers. Short, 28, has a career .174 average and .575 OPS in parts of three seasons. He played at Sacred Heart in Fairfield, Connecticut (and is from Kingston, New York).
Tim Locastro, John Curtiss, Denyi Reyes and Elieser Hernandez became free agents after being cut from the 40-man roster.
Righthanders Bryce Montes de Oca and Peyton Battenfield also were removed from the 40-man but were assigned to Triple-A.