Seattle Mariners Trade-a-Day: Adam Ottavino
With Alex Colome stumbling, it’s clear the Mariners still need to address their bullpen. They need a serious arm that truly gives them the flexibility to use Edwin Diaz in other key situations.
I think I can speak for the entire Mariners fanbase in saying that Scott Servais’ reluctance to use Diaz outside of save situations has been infuriating. But I get it. Right now, the Mariners have a bullpen that’s completely unstable outside of Diaz and James Pazos.
Simply put, there isn’t a whole lot of trust to be had in Colome, Juan Nicasio, Nick Vincent, and company. Allow me to provide someone you can depend on: Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino.
The Rockies are absolutely falling apart right now and have found themselves suddenly in fourth place in the NL West. With teams like the Diamondbacks and Dodgers separating themselves, it looks like Colorado’s playoff hopes are coming to an end.
Therefore, the Rockies are likely sellers at the Deadline, and they have a few intriguing pieces to offer.
Ottavino is the one that jumps out to me the most. After being just a decent reliever most of his career, then having an abysmal 2017 season, it’s a shock to see that Ottavino is one of the MLB’s most efficient relievers in 2018.
Amongst relievers this season, Ottavino is fifth in fWAR (1.4), sixth in K/9 (14.00), and fourth in xFIP (2.13). For reference, Ottavino has posted very similar numbers to Edwin Diaz in every category mentioned.
In the final year of his three-year, $10.4 million deal with the Rockies, Ottavino has suddenly become one of the league’s premier relievers.
So, how do you value a pitcher like this? He’s not a closer, he’s a rental, and he’s 32. I’m going to take a swing at it now.
While Ottavino’s stock does take a slight dip for not being a closer, he’s been so good that he commands a significant return. He won’t earn the Rockies a major prospect this July, but two of the Mariners’ top nine prospects per MLB Pipeline is pretty solid.
Festa will be a quick riser in the Rockies’ system, perhaps even finding himself in Coors Field in September. In fact, when you look at the numbers, Festa lines up to be somewhat of an Adam Ottavino clone. With a high K-rate that should translate well to the MLB, the Rockies may find themselves with their future set-up man in Festa.
Rizzo, on the other hand, is the most intriguing piece here due to where and how he would fit in Colorado’s future plans. With Nolan Arenado planted at third base for the foreseeable future, the popular choice would be to put him at first. However, Rizzo is only 5’9″, which, uh, is not great for an MLB first basemen.
Still, he’s worth the headache of placing him somewhere on the field because his bat should absolutely rake in Coors Field. Though he doesn’t have a ton of power, Rizzo has the ability to spray the ball all over that large outfield and wreak havoc on opposing defenses.
With that praise, it’s clear that this would be a hefty price for the Mariners to pay. Especially for a reliever who may not be on the team come Spring Training.
But the Mariners absolutely need another dominant arm in their bullpen if they plan on winning playoff games this year. They likely cannot afford someone like Brad Hand, so Ottavino is seemingly the next best thing.
So, yes, it’s a high price, but one that’s absolutely worth it. Ottavino changes the look of this bullpen and allows Servais more comfort in using Diaz in non-save opportunities.
Next: Mariners Trade a Day: Cole Hamels
Give Diaz the ball in the 7th or 8th and let Ottavino, Pazos, or Colome close it out for you.
You absolutely need these kinds of options when playing in a Wild Card game and beyond.