On Christmas Eve of 2019, the New York Mets revealed a “gift” to their fans: the announcement of Dellin Betances, an extremely talented reliever that excelled for years with the New York Yankees but also sustained several injuries in the months prior to his agreement with the Flushing club.
The one-year pact came with a couple of player options in 2021 and 2022. Most likely, he wanted to use his time with the New York Mets in 2020 to prove that he was over the shoulder and lat issues that plagued his 2019 and the Achilles tear that derailed his normal 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 extremely small, but truth be told, Betances didn’t have a good year and was forced to miss time.
As Anthony DiComo of MLB.com explains it, the bad season puts the Mets’ reliever in a tough spot. The player option is worth $6 million, with a $3 million buy out. The deciding factor in his decision will be whether he thinks he can find a one-year deal better than $3 million.
“I actually haven’t even given it any thought, to be honest with you,” Betances said. “I do enjoy playing with this group of guys. Obviously, we came very short of expectations, and it’s very frustrating. But I like the guys that are here, the staff as well. It’s a decision I have to make, but it’s something that I haven’t really given any thought.”
Fastball velo is the key for the Mets’ reliever
So 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 that five-year span, Betances averaged over 97 miles per hour with his fastball. In 2020? 93.6 mph.
The Mets helped him eliminate some natural cut on his fastball and that resulted in his highest velocity of the season in the season’s final weekend against the Washington Nationals: 96.7 mph.
“It’s the best I’ve been in a couple years,” Betances said shortly after that.
Despite the bad results in 2020, he could elect to stay with the Mets and show his best version next year.