When the Yankees traded Adam Ottavino to the Boston Red Sox prior to the final season of his three-year deal, fans ignored the metrics claiming he’d be bouncing back and hoped for the worst for their rivals.
“Oh, you like him in March? Enjoy October!” fans screamed, with their fingers crossed. And you know what? It worked! Ottavino was solid in the cold weather to begin the year, but blew key games down the stretch in Boston as his trademark stuff faded and his control issues took over.
He was who we thought he was, finishing with a 4.21 ERA and alternating solid outings with completely baffling ones, something the data can’t really account for.
The worst part? Ottavino was a perfectly affable Yankee, someone who grew up in Brooklyn a diehard fan of the Bombers. Sending him to Boston was torturous. We wanted him to succeed, but not there. We wanted to win the trade, but we didn’t want him to be embarrassed …
And yet this offseason, when Ottavino signed with the Mets, he began his tenure by stating how excited he was that there was finally a good team in New York. And NOW he’s pushed too many buttons.
See, the problem with poking the bear is that sometimes the bear has the best run differential in the American League.
And the other problem is that, sometimes, the man doing the poking is among the league’s most volatile relievers, prone to a control meltdown at any moment that’ll leave even his biggest fans confused.
Adam Ottavino probably shouldn’t have side-swiped the Yankees after joining the Mets
Now, was the inspiration for this article Ottavino going Full Otto against the Braves on Wednesday, allowing all three of his inherited runners to score on a walk, double, wild pitch, and single? Sure. Would be lying if I’d said it wasn’t.
But, really, this is more about how a crosstown rival being brazen enough to doubt Brian Cashman’s magic and insinuate that not only was there only one good team in New York, but that it was the Mets. He could’ve said “two good teams”! He didn’t.
The Mets, of course, are also very good, ranking at the top of the NL East. Along with the Dodgers and Angels’ early-season success, big markets are having an astounding time atop the standings. The Subway Series will be electric.
Of course, if you listened to preseason Ottavino, it’ll be a Mets sweep — and rather effortlessly, too. But the right-hander should continue to be careful what he wishes for.
Yes, occasionally Ottavino is a “cheat code”. But only for so long…
The Mets and Yankees are on a collision course, and — though it’s plenty early — most metrics favor the Yanks so far.
Both sides of this coin seem good, at the moment, but Ottavino must already be sweating about forgetting half of the equation.