While many are expecting the New York Yankees to make a splash this offseason, one of the biggest decisions surrounds homegrown righty, Dellin Betances.
Eleven days have passed since the New York Yankees set foot on a baseball field. The rumors surrounding offseason moves are flying at lightning speed, bringing up big-time names like Francisco Lindor and Gerrit Cole as ways to catapult the Bombers to their 28th ring.
Sure, the shiny new toys are consistently on the minds of fans and the front office alike. It will be at the forefront of conversation until the Yankees actually make an official move to help bolster their team for a World Series-run.
In the end, the biggest decision to be made this offseason might not come from outside.
Instead, it might just be what happens with the giant homegrown righty Dellin Betances that makes all the difference for this Yankees team.
The Manhattan native shot his way into the spotlight with a blazing four-seam fastball and took the Bronx by storm after finding a niche in the Yankees bullpen beginning his first full season in 2014. Since then, he’s made the All-Star team four times and consistently mowed down the competition.
Oh, and did we mention that he set a new Major League record by striking out 100 batters in five consecutive seasons?
Betances was unable to continue his streak, landing on the injured list prior to the start of the 2019 season and only managing two outs against big-league competition before suffering a torn Achilles.
Alas, 2019 was not the greatest for Betances for multiple reasons. Not only could he not assist his team on their miraculous World Series run, but he also is a 31-year-old entering free agency without recent stats to back up the contract he seeks.
While the Yankees might make runs for some big names, Dellin Betances is a big name that needs to be addressed early.
Aroldis Chapman can opt-out of his current contract to seek employment elsewhere. If that happens, who closes? Zack Britton is the prime candidate but he also has an injury history and was overworked throughout the season. While Adam Ottavino is dominant during the regular season, would he really be able to shut down some of the best teams in baseball when it really counted?
Betances, who has closed before, would be a solid returner who has proven that the pressure in the Bronx is no big deal. The homegrown star maybe doesn’t have his signature high-90s fastball working in his favor, but who is to say that it won’t return come the offseason? Besides, by working in the sharp movement of his breaking pitches, he can be a valuable asset to the bullpen to keep it dominant should Chapman not return.
But what if Chapman does? Betances still could be a key cog in the bullpen machine, while maybe not throwing quite as many innings as he has done in the past. Seeing as how this past season ended with the bullpen quite literally running on fumes, this might not be such a terrible thing.
The rumor mill is wide open, with teams like the New York Mets in search of a reliable bullpen piece, as discussed by ESNY’s Thomas Hall. And with the Yankees playing a tough arbitration game with Betances in the past, who is to say he’ll even want to accept a deal to stay?
With Betances, the Yankees could continue to have a plethora of reliable power arms in the ‘pen. Without Betances, they still have a strong bullpen but could miss an opportunity to have a full-time closer should Chapman decide to forego the rest of his deal.
Oh, and what about if he goes to another AL East team? Say, the Boston Red Sox? He is not a pitcher the Yankees want to see in the opposing team’s bullpen 19 times a year.
The clock is starting to tick on the free agency market. Dellin Betances may have been injured last season but his track record shows that he is a dominant pitcher who has handled the pressure of the Bronx. How many pitchers can say that?
Despite his current injury, Dellin Betances will garner interest from teams this offseason and now it’s just a matter of how much the Yankees value this hometown hero. If he walks, the New York Yankees are going to be letting go on of the best multi-talented relievers they’ve had in years.