Following a win in arbitration, the New York Yankees truly disrespected Dellin Betances, a man who has done all his team has asked him for.
Sure, the process is never a fun experience for either side, but Betances was willing to put it in the past, take his pay raise (although it wasn’t what he wanted) and move on. Nothing’s wrong with doing so and concentrating on the 2017 season.
After all, Betances, despite not earning the $5 million he filed for, will certainly take the $3 million he received considering it’s much more than the $507,500 salary he earned last season.
Then, Randy Levine happened.
On Saturday morning, shortly after the settlement of the case was announced, Levine said that Betances’ agent made a ”half-baked attempt” to “use a player to change a well-established market.”
“$5 million goes to elite closers,” the Yankees’ president said. “Pitchers who pitch the ninth inning and have a lot of saves. Dellin didn’t have that record. He never did.”
“It’s like me saying, I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut,” Levine added. “I’m not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer.”
According to Betances’ lead agent, Jim Murray of Excel Sports Management, Levine called his agent by the wrong first name and even “blamed Dellin for the Yankees’ declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history,” via Ken Rosenthal.
The truth of the matter is, Mr. Levine, your comments are the definition of “half-baked.”
Betances, in a role that the Yankees asked him to be placed in time in and time out despite possessing the capability of being an elite closer, has recorded 392 strikeouts since becoming a reliever.
That’s the most in baseball, and 80 more than the man New York just gave $86 million to this offseason, Aroldis Chapman.
More than that, however, the Yankees have called his name more than any reliever in the majors (247 IP) and have overused him to an incredible degree (3,988 total pitches) since 2014 — while consistently altering his role to meet team needs.
FanGraph’s dollar value tabbed Betances with a $23 million value in 2016. Meaning if Yankees wanted to replace what the all-star gave them last season, they should expect it to cost them about $23 million.
So, while there is a genuine case that Betances did deserve the $5 million he requested in arbitration, Mr. Levine is the one who needs to check himself into the loony bin and stay in until his egotistic and asinine view of what’s going with the organization comes back to reality.
Remember, this is the same Randy Levine who ripped the media for bringing up the subject of the then 37-37 Yankees becoming sellers at the deadline. Good call, Randy. Furthermore, your farm system looks pretty damned stacked amirite?
But this is different. This is about having respect for one of your homegrown talents that has given it his all to help the team win.
There is no problem with the results from the arbitration. Experts have even said what Betances’ team filed for was too high. But he was certainly prepared to take his 491.13 percent raise in salary and move on.
Baseball is a business, Randy Levine made it personal by humiliating, devaluing and arguably underpaying one of his best pitchers.
Dellin Betances said that he was going to put the hearing behind him until he heard about Randy Levine's comments: pic.twitter.com/L15yFk0eiq
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) February 18, 2017
“I was planning on putting everything behind me until I was aware of Randy Levine’s comments saying I was the victim in this whole process and saying how much they love me,” Betances said in his presser. “But then they take me in a room trash me for about an hour-and-a-half. I thought that was unfair.”
Betances is under Yankee control through 2019 and could very well be in a different uniform by 2020. What the arrogant Levine just did was derail the probability of this homegrown Yankee becoming a Yankee-for-life.
“You look at it a little differently now,” said Betances. “I think [free agency] will be a little easier when the time comes.”
Once again, Mr. Levine, you have left people speechless.