MLB rumors: Ottavino stays in New York; Carrasco to return to Cleveland

Spring training is only a few weeks away and four of the top 10 free agents remain on the market. The expectation at this point is that all four will remain in free agency well into February, but it’s always possible the market can suddenly accelerate. Regardless, we’ve got some other moves to cover, so let’s get to it. 

Ottavino back with Mets

The Mets and righty reliever Adam Ottavino have agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million pact for 2024, Joel Sherman reports. The deal is pending a physical. Ottavino, a 38-year-old Brooklyn native, is coming off a 2023 season for the Mets in which he put up an ERA of 3.21 and a K/BB ratio of 2.14 in 36 relief appearances. Prior to that, he enjoyed a standout 2022 campaign for the Mets, as he registered a 2.06 ERA with 79 strikeouts over 65 2/3 innings. Ottavino has a career ERA+ of 131. 

Carrasco returns to Guards

Veteran right-hander Carlos Carrasco has agreed to terms with the Guardians on a minor-league contract for 2024, reports Zack Meisel. Meisel adds that the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training. 

Carrasco, who’ll turn 37 in March, spent the first 11 seasons of his big-league career with Cleveland, and he remains a popular figure among Guardians fans. He’s coming off a 2023 season with the Mets in which he pitched to a 6.80 ERA and 1.74 K/BB ratio across 20 starts and 90 innings. For his career, he owns an ERA+ of 105 across parts of 14 seasons. 

Cubs sign Neris

The Cubs have agreed to a one-year, $9 million deal with free-agent, right-handed reliever Héctor Neris, according to ESPN

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Neris, 34, appeared in 71 games last season with the Astros and pitched to a 1.71 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP and 77 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings. 

Neris has closing experience, though the smart money here is on Adbert Alzolay being the Cubs’ closer in 2024 with Neris and Julian Merryweather in setup roles. 

Frazier, Royals agree to deal

The Royals and second baseman/outfielder Adam Frazier have agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million deal, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com

Frazier, 32, hit .240/.300/.396 (94 OPS+) with 21 doubles, 13 home runs, 60 RBI, 59 runs and 11 steals, good enough for 1.7 WAR for the Orioles last season. He has played mostly second base in his career, but has also spent time at every outfield position, third base and shortstop. In looking at the makeup of the Royals’ roster at this point, we can probably peg Frazier for some starts at second and, generally, in a utility backup role.

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