After a bitter arbitration hearing, could the Washington Nationals snag Dellin Betances from the New York Yankees? He would be an ideal closer.
Rarely do teams like the Washington Nationals pay attention deeply to other team’s arbitration cases. Although everyone is interested in what the market is set for certain players, the hearings are part of the business.
Sometimes, they get rather personal and nasty. Teams and players arguing in front of a neutral party over money pits the two against each other. Feelings get hurt and most cases settle long before they enter the meeting room.
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What happened late last week and Saturday between the New York Yankees and Dellin Betances defies description. If you thought your relationship with your boss was dysfunctional, well brother, the Yankees nuked Betances in public.
Betances asked for $5 million, the Yanks offered $3 million. New York won. And then, team president Randy Levine opened his mouth.
With Betances request for $5 million, Levine quipped it “had no bearings in reality.” Mind you, Betances is a three-time All-Star.
Regarding his value as a closer, Levine continued:
"“It’s like me saying, I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut. I’m not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer.”"
When you have Aroldis Chapman as a closer, you do not need Betances, or anyone else.
The Nationals need one. When you strikeout 15.5-per-nine, that is closer material. When your career WHIP is 1.001, that should land you a few chances to close.
If the Yankees are tired of a pitcher who allowed 6.7 hits-per-nine, Mike Rizzo should send a request asking what the Bombers would like to take the 28-year-old off their hands.
Betances blew five saves last year for New York, but only two after Chapman’s trade to the Chicago Cubs. As the closer, Betances converted 12-of-14 chances. The boy who graduated high school in Brooklyn is shunned by his hometown team.
Are Betances’ numbers as eye-dropping as in the past? No.
Last year’s WHIP of 1.123 and 3.08 ERA are career highs. The ERA doubled from 2015. His H/9 rate jumped from 4.8. There are legitimate reasons with his workload to worry about regression.
Betances is under New York team control for three more seasons. As long as he pitches at this level, his salary demands will increase.
Washington can afford $3 million and the rest of his arbitration years. When you are a proven pitcher that can shut down rallies before they happen, like Betances, then the Nats should show diligence and see what the Yanks want.
It is hard to see Betances remaining happy after a public tongue-lashing like that. Yes, arbitration hearings are horrible for all sides, dissolving the trust and foundations of the team-player relationship.
Levine’s contempt goes well beyond the norm. Washington needs a bullpen anchor. Although it is a long shot, at least see what the cost is.
At least if Chapman gets hurt and Betances fills in, we can ask Levine how flight school went.