On Christmas Eve of 2019, the New York Mets revealed a “gift” to their fans: the announcement of Dellin Betances. This incredibly talented reliever excelled for years with the New York Yankees and sustained several injuries in the months before his agreement with the Flushing club.
The one-year pact came with a couple of player options in 2021 and 2022. He most likely wanted to use his time with the New York Mets in 2020 to prove that he was over the shoulder and lat issues plaguing his 2019 and the Achilles tear that derailed his offseason.
However, the 2020 shortened season wasn’t kind to him. He finished with a 7.71 ERA, a 4.91 FIP, and a 6.39 xFIP, with more walks than strikeouts in 11.2 innings. The sample size is minimal, but truth be told, Betances didn’t have a good year.
The lousy season puts the Mets’ reliever in a tough spot. The player option is worth $6 million, with a $3 million buyout. The deciding factor in his decision will be whether he thinks he can find a one-year deal better than $3 million.
Despite the bad results in 2020, he could elect to stay with the Mets and show his best version next year, if the Mets select his player option.
What Can Betances Prove in 2021 on the Mets?
As long as Betances can regain his fastball velocity, he has a good shot at becoming the reliever he was between 2014 and 2018 with the Yankees, or something close to it. That pitcher was perennially among the league leaders in ERA, strikeouts, and other statistics. Over those five years, Betances averaged over 97 miles per hour with his fastball. In 2020 he averages 93.6 mph.
The Mets do have some fantastic relievers. These include Lugo, Diaz, and Justin Wilson. So why bring back Betances? Seth Lugo may move to the starting rotation, which would make it even more crucial to get back Betances, as the Mets would be down a reliever. There are some All-Star relievers that the Mets can sign this offseason. Names include Liam Hendriks, Kirby Yates, Mark Melancon, and others. Betances may have the most upside though.
If the Mets want to go after a top catcher or pitcher such as Realmuto and Bauer, signing Hendriks would void that, so it is unlikely the Mets go after him. Instead, the Mets should pick up Betances’ option worth a low $6 million, with a $3 million buyout.
2020 was too small of a sample size for any player, especially Betances, who dealt with many injuries. Betances has a high upside, and it would be unreasonable for the Mets to not pickup up his option.