The Yankees may be zeroing in on one of the last remaining elite relievers on the free-agent market.
With just weeks to go before pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training, New York's need to bulk its bullpen is reaching an apex. The Yankees reportedly still have their hat in the fiercely competitive ring for free agent Adam Ottavino.
Fancred's Jon Heyman reported on Wednesday the Bronx Bombers are talking to the right-handed reliever. Acquiring Ottavino would give New York major leverage over its Red Sox rivals, who are still struggling to furnish an anemic bullpen.
Boston arguably has a slight edge in the rotation and the offenses are quite similar in strength, but the overall scale could tip toward New York if the Yanks add to an already dominant bullpen, per SNYtv's Chris Carelli.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman met with Ottavino's representatives back in December when he was reportedly high on New York's wish list. Since then, the Bronx lost right-handed reliever David Robertson to a two-year deal with the Phillies. But the Yankees were able to hold on to free-agent target Zach Britton, landing a three-year, $39 million deal for the two-time All-Star reliever.
Ottavino is coming off a breakout season in which he finished 6-4 with a 2.43 ERA (2.74 FIP) and 112 strikeouts in 77.2 innings, or a 13 K/9 ratio and did it while pitching at the hitter-friendly Coors Field with the Rockies. His 0.99 WHIP in 2018 was much improved from a 1.63 WHIP with a 5.06 ERA in 2017.