Last year the Astros made a trade out of left field — at least, that’s how I recall the acquisition of Dexter Fowler. Sure the move made sense and was something they were seeking at the time. This year the Colorado Rockies could again be a fit as Adam Ottavino would be a solid acquisition. This would likely be a much lower cost than signing a player via free agency.
Digging into Ottavino’s profile makes me wonder why Jeff Luhnow hasn’t already acquired this guy. Adam was originally drafted by the Cardinals with the 30th selection in the 2006 draft. It took him until the 2010 season to make his MLB debut despite pitching very consistently in the Cardinals’ system. For some reason AA (the Texas League) gave him some fits as his ERA skyrocketed from the low 3’s to 5.23 across over 100 innings. But his first few innings in the majors went poorly and he ended up spending the next season in the minor leagues again.
Then at the beginning of the 2012 season he was exposed to waivers and the Rockies took a chance on him. So began a ran of three solid seasons out of the Rockies bullpen. In 2012 he threw an impressive 79 innings in just 53 games. His ERA was 4.56; little below “quality.” But FIP was in his favor.
Due to his time in St. Louis in 2010 his ERA is likely a little inflated. Overall through 3 years and 87 days of service time at the MLB level, Ottavino has a career ERA of 4.06. His other numbers are a little more attractive as his BB/9 have declined in recent years along with a solid K/9 mark of about a strikeout per inning. And perhaps the most surprising statistic given that he pitched his home games at Coors Field is his HR/9 ratio. That mark is under 1.0 and should be slightly better pitching at Minute Maid Park.
The Rockies also encountered bullpen issues during the 2014 season. This may be a detrimental factor to acquiring Ottavino. With Michael Cuddyer recently departing the Rockies via free agency, perhaps the Astros could use their excess of 4th outfielders to work a trade out that benefits both sides. In this scenario I would begin with offering L.J. Hoes, Alex Presley, Marc Krauss, and Robbie Grossman. But I expect that the Rockies would pursue a player with more potential. I could see Domingo Santana being on their wish list.
Regardless of who is involved in the trade, if a deal could be done to benefit both sides, Ottavino could be a very nice addition to the Astros bullpen. The 2015 season will be his first year of arbitration. MLBTR projects his 2015 salary to be just $1,000,000. Adam Ottavino is a very cheap, yet low-risk option, for the Astros to pursue this offseason.