The New York Mets signing of bullpen flamethrower Dellin Betances is absolutely a risk, but it was one work taking.
Dellin Betances, the New York Mets’ newest bullpen addition, will be introduced at Citi Field Field next week. Changes are coming. For instance, catch a glimpse of the facial hair that was not appropriate with the team he pitched for across town the past eight years in the Bronx.
Identify the changes, become familiar with the changes, for Betances wearing the blue and orange next year and beyond has is now a reality.
But, as this columnist stated last week, Betances, 31, does come with a risk. He is coming off a shoulder injury and a partial Achilles’ tendon tear with options for the 2021 and 2002 seasons, $10.5 million guaranteed.
Those injuries caused him to make one appearance for the Yankees last season.
Indeed, this is a risk. So talk to yours truly in August, because, if Betances rebounds, this is not another bust for Brodie Van Wagenen. And if Betances fails, negative headlines will engulf the brash young general manager.
So, like so many others, this observer is willing to give this a chance. The Mets needed to revamp a bullpen that was next to last in baseball last year, and that’s exactly what they did.
The bullpen is suddenly formidable on paper with Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia and Justin Wilson. Along with Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Brad Bach, rookie manager Carlos Beltran does enjoy reliable flexibility in the late innings.
Throw Michael Wacha in the mix, another low-cost pickup, who desperately needs to have that turnaround season as a starter or out of the bullpen.
A bullpen that represented a mission to revamp, needed to take on a risk or two. An NL insider informed ESNY that the consensus on Betances remained pretty steady throughout.
“This (Betances) is a risk as other teams saw it that way.”
Those teams were the Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies. They simply would not take the risk.
They are in need of bullpen help in the late innings. They say the efficiency of a 100-mile fastball, good enough for five-straight 100-strikeout seasons with the Yankees, is still possible. But for that to happen, Betances has to stay on the mound.
Which leads to the question, “Why would Brodie Van Wagenen take this risk?”
Betances was available, By now, we know the shedding of Yoenis Cespedes’s salary was a key component to get this done. Brodie was willing to go with the risk and he made Mets fans happy with that early Christmas gift a few days ago.
“We have the four-legged monster that will be dangerous,” said J.D. Davis to ESNY.
Yes, this can become a monster pen in the NL East, a premier threat in baseball, assuming Diaz and Familia have bounce-back years. And that dominance can be expected, especially if Wilson picks up from last year, along with Lugo.
And all along, it was the failure of the Mets bullpen that cost them anything special a season ago.
So now the Mets have their answer to make it better: Betances and Diaz, two of the premier strikeout percentage leaders beyond the outfield.
Thank the creativity of the Mets GM. Colleague Rich Coutinho wrote about that earlier in the week.
Better yet, there could be more in the plan.
Betances has posted a 2.36 career ERA (100 earned runs/381.2 innings) with 36 saves and 621 strikeouts in 358 major league games with the Yankees. Those numbers are impressive. Unpredictable as to the final results, but then again, a long baseball season is difficult to predict. Betances knows New York, so that adjustment will not be the issue.
Talk to this columnist in August. By then, there will be an indication if this was the best option for the Mets, assuming more moves are made before pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie in seven weeks.
A risk? Perhaps. The right move for this bullpen at this moment? Absolutely
But for this to work, excuse the repetition, Dellin Betances needs to stay healthy. Brodie Van Wagenen took that risk and few can argue with the decision.
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