Eight years ago today, the Colorado Rockies made, perhaps, the best waiver trade in their franchise history: the waiver claim of Adam Ottavino.
The Colorado Rockies were three days away from starting the 2012 season in Houston against the then-NL Central basement-dwelling and non-cheating Astros. Before the season would start though, they made a waiver claim from the St. Louis Cardinals. It was for pitcher Adam Ottavino.
Ottavino was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2006 amateur draft (30th overall pick). They were grooming him to be a starting pitcher and he reached the major leagues in 2010. However, he was bombed to an 8.46 ERA in five games (three starts).
In 2011, he did not make an appearance at the major league level but for Triple-A Memphis, he pitched to a 7-8 record with an ERA of 4.85 in 26 games (25 starts). Ottavino was entering his age-26 season in 2012.
More from Rox Pile
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?
The Rockies claimed Ottavino and assigned him to Triple-A Colorado Springs. They decided to convert him to a reliever. After pitching to a 3.20 ERA in 13 relief appearances for the Sky Sox, the Rockies called him up to the major leagues in May.
In the majors, he made 53 appearances out of the Rockies bullpen and he had an ERA of 4.56 (102 ERA+) and a FIP of 3.85.
For the next six seasons, he became one of the Rockies’ most reliable relievers out of the bullpen as in four the following six seasons, he pitched in 50 or more games out of the bullpen, including two seasons of 75 appearances.
After the 2018 season, Ottavino became a free agent and he signed with the New York Yankees, joining the team that he grew up rooting for and a team that had or currently has many other former Rockies on it as well, including DJ LeMahieu, Troy Tulowitzki, Mike Tauchman, Tommy Kahnle, David Hale, Chris Iannetta, and Chad Bettis (the latter two both being during 2020 Spring Training).
He continued his success with the Yankees in 2019 as he made 73 appearances and had an ERA of 1.90, making him one of the Yankees’ most reliable relievers for the foreseeable future.