When Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly hit free agency, Adam Ottavino seemed like the perfect fit to fill the void in the Boston bullpen.
Evidently, the Red Sox had other plans. Instead of splurging for an elite reliever, they opted to roll with their internal options. That's when the rival Yankees came along and signed Ottavino to a three-year, $27 million deal.
So what exactly happened with the Red Sox and Ottavino during negotiations? Not much, according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.
“They called and stuff but it never really got beyond that. It just never got off the ground,” Ottavino told Cotillo. “We kind of put the ball in their court and gave them a chance at the end to see what their level was. They just chose not to engage.”
By choosing not to engage on Ottavino, the Red Sox chose not to engage on a reliever who's proven capable of pitching in high-leverage situations. The 33-year-old right-hander had a 2.43 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 75 appearances with the Rockies in 2018. He's no Kimbrel, but his presence certainly would have helped the pessimism that currently surrounds Boston's bullpen situation.
Ottavino believes the Red Sox simply weren't willing to make a large expenditure, which is consistent with what Dave Dombrowski said throughout the offseason.
“I think initially, I did expect them to be in on relief pitching prior to the offseason,” Ottavino said. “Once it got going and you just saw their level of involvement, then I kind of felt like they were not trying to spend any money and stay where they were financially. As it kept going, I just started realizing that was more the case.”
With the 2019 season in full swing, the Red Sox still don't have a set closer. For now, they're expected to continue going with a combination of Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes in the late innings.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.