3 potential reliever trade targets for the Pittsburgh Pirates who are getting unlucky

The Pirates should consider going after these relievers who are getting unlucky so far this season.
Sep 18, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) pitches against the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) pitches against the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports / Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
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Adam Ottavino

Adam Ottavino is in his late-30s and continues to strike a ton of guys out while limiting hard contact. Ottavino is only a rental, but would still be someone the Pirates should consider going after to shore up the bullpen this season. He still has stuff under the hood that suggests improvement this year.

Ottavino has pitched 23.1 innings with an ERA of 5.79, but he's striking out over 30% of the batters he's faced with a 30.7% K%, while also owning a respectable 8.7% walk rate. His 1.16 HR/9 is a tad high, but he does things that pitchers who don't allow many home runs do, such as not allowing very much hard contact (85.3 MPH) and keeping the ball on the ground (51.7% ground ball rate).

Ottavino's ERA isn't good, but what is good are his 3.61 FIP, 3.26 xFIP, and 2.73 SIERA. Those numbers aren't much different from what he had in 2022-2023, when he had a 3.66 FIP, 3.54 xFIP, and 3.22 SIERA while working to a 2.62 ERA in his first two seasons with the New York Mets. Part of his struggles stem from batted ball luck. He has a .333 BABIP compared to his career average of .301 and .264 with the Mets in his first two seasons.

Ottavino has consistently been a solid relief pitcher for years. He's not doing anything different this year than in years past. It also doesn't help the Mets aren't a good defensive team. The Pirates aren't filled with Gold Glovers, but the Mets have -31 DRS and -6 OAA. The Pirates are worse in the eyes of OAA but far better in DRS. Ottavino is due for a good stretch here.