Adam Ottavino explains decision to opt out of Mets contract, leaves door open for return

A day after reliever Adam Ottavino declined his 2024 player option with the Mets, the right-hander explained his decision further on Tuesday’s edition of SNY’s Baseball Night in New York.

Ottavino reiterated some of what he told The NY Post on Tuesday, mainly the departures of former Mets manager Buck Showalter and former GM Billy Eppler played a big part in why he decided to test free agency this offseason.

“Just the way everything ended this year, Buck getting and let go Billy eventually being not in the picture anymore those are kind of the guys I originally signed for with the Mets and with one year to go so much uncertainty around the team I just felt like I should keep my options open and kind of hear from all the teams before I see what happens. But I'm not closing any doors.”

When asked if he could return to the Mets, Ottavino said “absolutely.”

The 37-year-old spent the last two seasons with the Mets and pitched to a combined 2.62 ERA with 141 strikeouts over 127.1 innings, but he definitely had a down year in 2023 as opposed to his first year in Queens.

In 2023, Ottavino pitched to a 3.21 ERA and a 1-7 record. He also pitched to a 1.21 WHIP and struck out 62 batters in 61.2 innings. However, Ottavino was effective against opposing right-handed hitters in his tenure in Flushing. In 2022, he held right handers to a .161/.226/.253 slash line and a .203/.306/.275 slash line this past season.

The Mets recently hired Carlos Mendoza to be the new manager and Ottavino was asked if the manager factors into his decision on what team he plays for and the 13-year vet was honest with his answer.

“I mean, on the positive side, like if I've already played for a manager that I know what to expect with a certain guy, but other than that, to be honest, not at all.”

Ottavino declined his $6.75 million option but tried to redo his contract to stay with the Mets but said the team was “not interested.”

With David Stearns now the Mets’ president of baseball operations, and Mendoza managing the team, it’ll be interesting to see if Ottavino returns to the team or if another team will look to use his services.

In his 13 years in the majors, Ottavino has played for five teams including the Rockies, Yankees, Cardinals, Red Sox and Mets.