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Yankees: What to do with Dellin Betances?

When it comes to the New York Yankees’ bullpen, there is one pitcher that intrigues beyond all the rest. There is one pitcher that can be the best but also the worst in that bullpen. That pitcher is Dellin Betances. Dellin has been a crucial member of the Yankees pen for the last several years. But at seasons end when the 2019 campaign closes, so too could Dellin’s tenure with his hometown ballclub. So we dive into what the Yankees could (and should) do with Dellin Betances.

Who is Dellin Betances

Dellin Betances is a six-foot eight-inch right-handed pitcher for the New York Yankees. Betances has spent his entire career with the New York Yankees amassing a career ERA of 2.36, 36 saves under his belt (working mostly as a set-up man), and all across 381 innings pitched in pinstripes. Betances would also strikeout 619 batters, produce a career 14.6 K/9 and an ERA+ of 178. The tall righty is a pitcher than when his “stuff” is on can dominate and carve up lineups with a blazing fastball and a devastating hook. But deciding what to do with Betances at seasons end when he becomes a free agent goes deeper than just the stats.

A History Lesson Leading In

When thinking about the Yankees bullpen over the last few seasons, and looking towards 2019, the one man that stands out is Dellin. Betances has been someone that has rode the wave of momentum up and down more so than everyone else in the pen. Think back to a few offseasons ago when the arbitration case was front and center. And Randy Levine’s comments about Dellin came out. Dellin was affected and struggled mightily for much of that season. Last year a modicum of discretion was shown by everyone, and we did not endure a similar ordeal. And this offseason much of the latter held true. But because of what transpired a few offseasons ago, holding onto Dellin Betances will take a “closer type” offer.

The Case for Resigning Betances

As we’ve profiled Dellin Betances is one of the best relief pitchers in the game. And we believe that will remain a fact as Dellin was placed high on our Top 10 RP Right Now 2019 list. Betances will be entering his age 31 in 2019 and based on the FanGraphs projections, Dellin will strike out 82 in 55 innings. And that is a conservative outlook in my opinion at the production Betances can deliver.

Dellin Betances is likely to work the eighth inning ahead of closer Aroldis Chapman. Even though Betances is a right-handed pitcher, he is not phased by lefties. Betances hold a career OPS of .511 against LHB. Dellin is a pitcher that provides value by being able to be deployed in a variety of situations. And to hold onto that level of value Dellin will be looking for closer type of money. A three-year deal similar to what Zack Britton received should be able to lock Betances back in with the Bronx Bombers. A three-year $39-42 million should be enough to convince Betances to stay in pinstripes.

The Case for NOT Resigning Dellin

When the infamous arbitration case made its way to Yankees camp a few years ago, it was awkward. There was an air of uncomfortability. And it negatively affected the entire organization. But most of all it affected Dellin Betances. And while the past couple seasons have been amicable between Betances and the Yankees, it is a damaged relationship. As we mentioned, it would likely take a Zack Britton type deal to try a persuade Dellin to remain a Yankee. However, that may not be enough. There may be a sour taste in Dellin’s mouth from the whole experience. And if that looms over potential negotiations with Betances, the Yankees must not be afraid to walk away. As tremendous a pitcher as Dellin is, the Yankees cannot be held to pay for perceived past transgressions.

Dellin Betances is a top caliber relief pitcher in Major League Baseball. But at season’s end, he will hit free agency. And if the sit-down, about a reunion, does not prove fruitful the Yankees have alternative options. There are a number of relievers that will become available via free agency that could be signed in place of Dellin. There are also pitchers that can be acquired during the season as a preemptive measure against Betances departing. The Yankees have options when it comes to deciding on Dellin. And because of the tumultuous history between the two parties, it may not be an easy negotiation. And if that is the case moving on from the Brooklyn native would be the best decision.

So What To Do With Dellin Betances? 

There is no easy answer to this question. And because the Yankees usually don’t extend players during the season, we are likely to wait until next offseason to deal with this situation. This contract situation may come up during Spring Training until it is addressed by one party or the other. But it is unlikely to get resolved before offseason.

If I were in the position of Yankees GM Brian Cashman, I would have a conversation and test the waters with Betances. It would be beneficial for both sides to know where the other stands. If there is a sense that a deal could potentially be reached next offseason they can get an idea of what it would take. If however, if it seems like there is too much negative history for a fair market deal for what would be a 32-year-old reliever than Cashman can begin to make the necessary moves ahead if Dellin’s departure.

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