The New York Mets treated their fans to a nice holiday surprise on Tuesday, signing former New York Yankees reliever Dellin Betances to a one-year deal. Andy Martino was first to report that the team had come to terms with the right-hander. To make room for their new addition, the team designated Sam Haggerty for assignment.
As part of the contract, Betances will earn a $5.3 million signing bonus along with a $2.2 million base salary for 2020. He has a $6 million 2021 player option along with a $3 million buyout if he doesn’t exercise the option. There is also reportedly a vesting option for the 2022 season. In total, he will make $10.5 million guaranteed in 2020, and that number could increase to $13 million if he reaches the 70-game mark.
The Mets have been linked with Betances for much of the offseason, and the move always made sense from a pragmatic standpoint. The Mets are in desperate need of relief help in their bullpen, and Betances represents one of the most accomplished names on the market. Betances lives in New York and has pitched his entire career with the Yankees.
Earlier this offseason, the Mets and the division rival Philadelphia Phillies had emerged as the two favorites to land the 31-year-old pitcher. The following day, Jon Heyman had revealed that Betances to the Mets was “not likely”. It’s hard to speculate on what changed since Heyman’s tweet, but the Mets have cleared some payroll hurdles in the week since that proclamation following the team’s settlement with outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Betances is coming off a season in which he only threw two-thirds of an inning. A shoulder impingement suffered during spring training, followed by several setbacks, kept him off the mound until September. He returned to strike out the only two batters he faced that month, but suffered a partial tear of his left Achilles while jumping on the mound during one of said strikeouts. He is expected back for spring training.
From 2014-2017, Betances was one of the most feared relief pitchers in the American League, earning four consecutive All Star game nods while finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 and 14th in the AL Cy Young Award voting in 2015. In his career, he owns a 2.36 ERA, a 2.31 FIP, a 1.04 WHIP, a 14.6 K/9, and an 11.6 bWAR in 381.2 innings.
While it’s hard to expect him to provide the same results he did during the early part of his Yankee tenure, he is still a dynamic pitcher who could become a reliable late-game option for Carlos Beltran when healthy. He will join Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, and Brad Brach as pitchers who are all but guaranteed a spot on the Opening Day roster. It is likely that the eighth and final bullpen spot will be filled but a starting pitcher—Michael Wacha or Steven Matz—given the state of the team’s starting rotation.