Collusion-free baseball free agency means the New York Mets should pounce, but not for the oft-injured Dellin Betances.
Last year at this time, the baseball free agency push was all about collusion and the big names remained on the market. Manny Machado signed a multi-year contract with the San Diego Padres and Bruce Harper did the same with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The contracts came late in the game and a few weeks before the start of the season.
Not this time around.
The debate about owner collusion was, now, undoubtedly, short-lived. More so, the hefty contracts of a half-billion dollars granted to pitchers, Gerrit Cole (Yankees) and Stephen Strasburg (Nationals) signed the past few weeks, puts to rest any thought of offseason funny business in baseball.
Gio Gonzalez is another name off the table. Mets fans know him well. Sporting an 11-1 record when pitching on the other side at Citi Field, Gonzalez found himself bypassed by the Mets as a free agent last offseason.
Friday, Gonzalez and the Chicago White Sox made it official: one-year, $5 million and incentives with a club option. The 12-year veteran pitched 19 games last season for the Milwaukee Brewers: 17 starts, and 78 strikeouts while putting up a 3.50 ERA in a little over 87 innings on a one-year deal with incentives that was signed in late April.
Prior to signing with Milwaukee, the Yankees offered Gonzalez a minor-league deal in what became his spring training.
“I could not be happier,” Gonzalez told ESNY in reference to his latest deal.
With that spring training countdown, now, less than two months away, teams are still finding ways to improve, and the next major name off the board could be Josh Donaldson.
Reportedly, the 34-year third baseman has four deals on the table with the Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins as the leaders. A return to the Atlanta Braves is not out of the question.
So what does this have to do with the Mets,? One offseason need was fulfilled once Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello were snagged.
Outfielder Jake Marisnick? Not a big splash. The 28-year old outfielder with good defensive skills comes to Citi Field after six years with the Astros. But again, check off another need with the defensive outfielder acquisition.
Just a moment here… something’s missing. Every Mets fan is aware of the need to revamp a bullpen that was second-worst to the Red Sox with 21 blown saves.
Conventional wisdom leads the baseball world to believe Dellin Betances is in the mix. So are the Phillies. The Mets are banking on a turnaround from Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz, while probably keeping Seth Lugo, their most reliable reliever, in the pen.
Betances, though, not a good option for a Mets bullpen. A one-year deal is viable, but crossing town after a partial tear of his left Achilles tendon doesn’t equate to totally satisfying a dire need.
And the last thing the Mets need—though a healthy Betances would add depth—is another failure out of the pen that was paid a healthy sum.
Diaz was that failure, again with the hope of a turnaround in 2020. Betances and his 2018 numbers—2.70 ERA and over a 40 percent strikeout rate—looks good. But that injury risk is far too much to jump on at the moment.
Carlos Beltran would love to have Betances. Mets fans want him. The last thing Brodie Van Wagenen needs is another bust, especially one coming out of the bullpen.
Dellin Betances just isn’t an option right now for the New York Mets in this grab-em-while-you-can, collusion-free baseball free agency landscape.
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