Heading into this offseason, the New York Mets will need to upgrade their bullpen and Yankees’ Dellin Betances could be the prescription.
The New York Mets‘ bullpen performed extremely inconsistently this past season and those concerns will need to be addressed during this offseason.
This past season, the Mets’ bullpen recorded the fifth-worst ERA (4.99), seventh-worst fWAR (0.7) and totaled the ninth-most number of losses (32) throughout the entire league. Based on those numbers, it will be very difficult for the Mets to return to the playoffs in 2020 if no improvements are made to their bullpen this winter.
One of the biggest reasons for the Mets’ poor performances with their relievers was because of the lack of reliable pitchers at the back-end of their bullpen. Aside from reliever Seth Lugo, who produced a 2.70 ERA and a 2.2 fWAR, the Mets couldn’t rely on any other pitcher to close out games for them.
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen and his staff will likely look to free agency to resolve these issues concerning his team’s bullpen. While there may not be many marque relief pitchers out on the market this winter, there’s one pitcher who could definitely improve the Mets’ bullpen next season.
Dellin Betances would make a great addition at the backend of their bullpen in 2020.
Despite missing basically the entire 2019 season due to two separate injuries, Betances could provide the Mets with another reliable reliever to finish off games for their team. During the 2018 season, the four-time All-Star recorded a 2.70 ERA, 2.47 FIP, 42.3% strikeout rate, 9.6% walk rate, .183 OPP AVG and a 1.7 fWAR.
The Mets could also sign Betances at a reduced price because of the partially torn Achillies he suffered at the end of this past season. During the 2019 season, Betances earned just over $7 million with the New York Yankees. Based on his injury concerns from the 2019 season, the Mets would likely be able to provide Betances with a backloaded contract this offseason.
Meaning, if the Mets were to sign Betances to a four-year deal worth $30 million, then the Mets could decide to pay him just $10 million over the first two seasons and the remaining $20 million over the final two seasons of the deal. The Yankees might also not be able to afford Betances going forward anyway, which would give the Mets an even greater chance of bringing the hard-throwing righty to Queens.
Acquiring Betances at a reduced rate for the 2020 season would be a major success for Van Wagenen and his staff. Since the Mets aren’t expected to surpass the luxury tax this winter, their team is only expected to have somewhere around $10-$15 million in spending this offseason. So, stealing Betances away from the Yankees for just $5 million in 2020 would still allow the Mets to make additional upgrades this winter to further improve their team.
Heading into this offseason, the Yankees are expected to make a serious run at free-agent starter Gerrit Cole. Early reports are suggesting that the soon-to-be AL Cy Young award winner could fetch upwards of $30 million per season this winter. That amount along with closer Aroldis Chapman‘s $17 million player option, would push the Yankees over the $208 million luxury tax threshold for the 2020 season, which means their team would likely have to move on from Betances this offseason.
Following his injury-riddled 2019 season, it’s very unlikely that many other teams would even consider offering Betances a four-year deal worth a total of $30 million. With Betances also entering his age-32 season in 2020, it would likely limit the majority of the teams interested in his services from offering more than a two-year deal.
Adding Betances to the backend of the Mets’ bullpen would then instantly make their club a contender to win the NL East division next season. Despite closer Edwin Diaz‘s horrid 2019 performance, adding Betances would allow the Mets to pick and choose the spots for their struggling reliever throughout the entire 2020 season.
Unlike this past season, whoever is managing the Mets in 2020, won’t have to rely on Diaz almost every single game when Lugo is unavailable. Betances would also be an option for closing out games next season as well. Currently, it’s unclear who’ll be the Mets’ closer in 2020, but Betances is surely capable of winning the job as he recorded a combined 36 saves for the Yankees over his eight seasons in the majors.
Through his eight seasons with the Yankees, Betances has pitched to a 2.18 ERA and a .160 OPP AVG while pitching during the eighth inning and a 3.69 ERA and a .188 OPP AVG during the ninth inning. So while Betances has clearly been more effective in a setup role, the free-agent reliever could still act as an occasional closer for the Mets if needed.
Now if Chapman does opt-out of his current contract this offseason, the Yankees may consider resigning Betances as the cheaper option instead. Although, it’s very unlikely that Chapman would surrender a total of $34.4 million over the final two seasons of his deal, especially since he probably won’t receive more than that amount on the open market.
The Mets will likely rub some people the wrong way by signing Betances, but it’s at least better than a team like the Red Sox stealing him away from the Bronx. In fact, the Yankees probably won’t even miss Betances with the way their bullpen dominated opposing hitters without him this past season.