NEW YORK -- While shying away from high-priced free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the New York Yankees are boosting their bullpen.
Reliever Adam Ottavino and the Yankees agreed to a $27 million, three-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal is subject to a successful physical.
Ottavino is a 33-year-old New Yorker who went to Berkeley Carroll High School in Brooklyn and Northeastern University. He wore No. 0 with Colorado, a number not likely to be assigned by the tradition-bound Yankees.
He had a career-high 112 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings last year for the Colorado Rockies, going 6-4 with a 2.43 ERA in 75 relief appearances. The right-hander reduced his fastball percentage, relying primarily on sliders and sinkers. He walked 36.
Taken 30th overall by St. Louis in the 2006 amateur draft, Ottavino made his big league debut with the Cardinals in 2010 and was claimed by Colorado off waivers in April 2012. He had Tommy John surgery in May 2016 and returned to the Rockies for the start of the 2017 season.
Ottavino will join right-hander Dellin Betances and left-hander Zach Britton as the primary setup men for closer Aroldis Chapman, part of a bullpen that includes right-handers Chad Green, Jonathan Holder and Tommy Kahnle. He is the second free agent to leave the Rockies for the Yankees this offseason, following infielder DJ LeMahieu. Former Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki also signed with New York.
Ottavino's deal increases the Yankees' projected luxury tax payroll to $222 million, well over the $206 million threshold for the 20 percent tax. New York would pay an additional 12 percent surtax on the portion above $226 million.
New York is among only three teams currently projected to pay tax this year, along with the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. The Yankees' offseason moves included acquiring left-hander James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners, adding LeMahieu for $24 million over two years and re-signing Britton ($39 million for three years), left-hander J.A. Happ ($34 million for two years), left-hander CC Sabathia ($8 million for one year) and outfielder Brett Gardner ($7.5 million for one year).
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