DENVER — Adam Ottavino boasts one of baseball's best sliders. Thursday, as expected, he threw a curveball into the Rockies' bullpen. After Colorado invested $106 million in relievers Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee last winter, Ottavino faced an uncertain future. He dominated last season, among the best relievers in baseball. It left him position to cash in, but not with the Rockies.
Ottavino is heading home. The New York native signed a three-year, $27-million deal with the Yankees. He joins former Rockies D.J. LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki, who signed with baseball's most marquee franchise this winter. His deal matches those received by Shaw and McGee.
"Pretty bizarre. But I am happy I have those guys around," Ottavino told Denver7.
Ottavino will be missed. Relievers are volatile stocks, but if the 33-year-old right-hander even sniffs last year's numbers he will rank among the game's most lethal relievers. Ottavino held right-handed hitters to a .120 average in 34 1/3 innings at Coors Field last season. Overall, opponents batted .158 against him, including a .142 mark for righties. His 112 strikeouts ranked fourth among all relievers.
For now, the Rockies are counting on Scott Oberg, Seunghwan Oh and Davis to anchor the back of the bullpen.
Davis experienced a roller-coaster ride in his first season, posting a 4.13 ERA. However, he finished with 43 saves and a .185 average against. For Colorado to return to the playoffs for a third straight season, it needs Shaw and McGee to rebound. Shaw brought durability and performance to Colorado as a free agent then fizzled dramatically as he eschewed his cutter for a slider that acted more like a cement mixer. Looking spooked by Coors Field, Shaw posted a 5.93 ERA overall with a 6.93 mark at home as hitters posted a .351 average.
The left-handed McGee bottomed out last season with a 6.93 ERA. His struggles were amplified by Chris Rusin's near yearlong slump.