The New York Mets secured the services of Dellin Betances for at least one year. It was a perfect Christmas gift for fans, as seeing the talented right-handed pitcher in a Mets uniform on the team’s Twitter account was a delight.
Betances is more than just a free agent signing. Considering budget, success potential, and position of need, it was arguably the best fit among remaining free agents. The former Yankee was the move that general manager Brodie Van Wagenen needed to make sure to leave last season’s bad memories behind, at least when it comes to the bullpen.
What will Betances bring to the New York Mets?
- He consolidates the Mets’ contention window: last year was lost due to injury. However, the man had five straight seasons of elite performance before that. From 2014 to 2018 he had the third-highest K/9 among reliever with 14.63, and was fourth in FIP (2.26.) His 2.22 ERA was amazing, and he accrued the second-most WAR with 11.2. Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard are just a couple of years away from free agency. The Mets’ moment is now, and having one of the best relievers in the game will cement the contender status.
- Shortening the game: with Betances, Mets’ starters will take some of the pressure of having to go six or seven innings. Five or six frames of keeping the team in the game will be, in theory, enough. Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Justin Wilson, Brad Brach, Edwin Diaz, and now Betances can take care of the rest most nights. And if Jeurys Familia comes back strong, watch out.
- Bat-missing prowess in the late innings! Betances led the majors’ relievers with 607 strikeouts from 2014 to 2018. He was fourth in strikeout percentage with 40.3. And he had a very low contact percentage allowed of 65.5. He can miss bats with the best of them. The Mets will pair him with Diaz to form a nasty, K-heavy relief duo for the late innings.
- One of the league’s sickest curveballs: Betances’ hook is something to behold. In 2018, batters hit just .200 off the pitch, with a .155 expected batting average. The expected slugging was a meager .190, and the expected wOBA a putrid .194. The 47% whiff rate was extraordinary, and the Mets will benefit from it in the short term.
All in all, Dellin Betances was the best signing the New York Mets could announce at this time of the year.