New York Mets: How is Dellin Betances doing?

New York Mets pursuing Dellin Betances.

The New York Mets made a splash on Christmas Eve by signing one of the most talented relievers in the free agent market. They announced that Dellin Betances, who had spent all of his career with the New York Yankees, would now play in Queens and join what is shaping up to be a very solid bullpen, despite last season’s blunders.

However, Betances suffered a partial Achilles tear back in September and also dealt with diminished velocity during spring training. The question, then, is: how is he doing? Will the Mets clear him for summer camp?

The normal approach by the New York Mets, given the time he was away and how slowly he progressed back in March, would be to say that they will bring him along step by step and we won’t know for sure if he’s fully healthy until we see him pitch. But the team, per Anthony DiComo, seems to be hyping their prized reliever.

The Mets are excited by his current physical state

“We are extremely excited about where he is physically,” said general manager Brodie Van Wagenen this week. “He’s been one of the players that has been off a mound and able to face real hitters here over the course of the last couple weeks in live batting practice, simulated games, however you want to describe it. He’s had multiple sessions where he’s faced Major League hitters over the course of the last couple weeks, and he’s encouraged. Our performance staff evaluated him over the last couple of days, and we’re ready to see what he looks like when we start going here.”

Back in Spring Training, he got treatment on his left Achilles every day, suggesting that it was still an issue. That’s why, in part, his velocity remained in the low-90s when we are used to see him in the mid-to-high 90s. But the truth is that it is normal for him to start around that velocity, only to ramp it up in a few weeks.

The Mets’ wild card reliever (he can close or come out to put any fires given his strikeout ability) has had three more months to recover and looks ready to roll.

New York Yankees: Answers to where some of your favorite ex-Yankees have gone

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Dellin Betances
Many of us have favorite New York Yankees players that are no longer with the team. We frequently think of them and wonder what they are doing now. Here’s a summary of where some of those recently departed players are now and how they are doing.
Joe Girardi: Joe, after being replaced by present Yankee Manager Aaron Boone, he spent two years as a broadcaster the MLB.com. During this postseason, Joe was selected as the new manager for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“It means a lot to me that the fans are behind me,” Girardi said. “I’m well aware of the passion for the great game of baseball here. I’ve lived it as a player and as a manager. I know the importance of winning here. I had a chance to compete against a great team with Charlie Manuel here in 2009, and it was a great place to come watch a game. The passionate fans of the Phillies were great — they were not easy to play against — and I want it to be that way for many years to come.”

We wish Joe all the success in the world in his new job, just as long as he is not facing the Yankees which will happen in two series in this shortened season.
Ronald Torreyes: In his short time with the New York Yankees, “Toe” became a dugout and fan favorite with his excellent play and antics. He was the first to congratulate another player and always had a big smile. Torreyes, after he left the Yankees, he went to the Minnesota Twins where he was a utility player. This year he is back with Joe Girardi with the Phillies as a non-invitee at spring training. So far at camp, he has a .692 OPS and hopes to make the team.
Todd Frazier: Todd endeared himself to New York Yankees fans. In a run against the Mets in response to a three-run jack, I had hit to extend our lead from one run to four. He has this blank stare on his face and is completely emotionless. All he’s doing is standing there and giving me a thumbs-down. The thumbs-down guy was a Mets fan named Gary who’d just happened to show up that night. I guess he wasn’t too happy about the Yankees playing in his team’s home park, or the fact that we were winning. So anyway, the next afternoon, I get to the clubhouse at Citi, and Aaron Judge comes right up to me before I can even put down my bag.
“Dude, you need to do the thumbs-down if you get a hit tonight. You have to. For real.” For the rest of that year, the thumbs-down signal was given on every great play. Todd spent two years with the Mets and is now at the age of 34, is with the Texas Rangers.
Greg Bird: Greg, while with the Yankees, showed great promise and was rooted on my all Yankees fans as the future first baseman for the Yankees. But as time went on and he played less and less due to multiple injuries, many fans began to sour on him. After missing all but ten games last season, the Yankees cut ties with him during this offseason. Greg, not receiving major league offers, accepted a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers. He is presently at spring training as a non-invitee. He is turning heads by not swinging at balls. Yankee fans know that he can play with Greg it’s all about staying healthy. With the minor league season canceled, it’s unknown if he will play at all this year.
Austin Romine: Romine was the main back up catcher to Gary Sanchez for two years. He was with the New York Yankees for eight years. Romine has his fans, but he was an all-business guy and just did his job until he became one of the best backup catchers in baseball. When the Yankees didn’t take up any of the player options, Romines decided to become a free agent, mostly because he wanted to be an everyday catcher in the major leagues, something he knew he would not get with the Yankees favoring Gary Sanchez. Romine was picked up by the Detroit Tigers. So far in spring training, he has caught in four games as he fights for that starting day catcher position.  With spring training 2.0 about to start, he will continue to fight for that starting position.
Dellin Betances: Dellin was a dependable relief pitcher for the Yankees for eight years. His career ERA with the Yankees was 2.36. Last year, he was out due to injury for the entire year, and like Austine Romine, the Yankees did not offer him a job. Unlike Romine, Betances made it clear that he wanted to remain a Yankee. Dellin signed a contract with the crosstown New York Mets. His torn Achilles tendon is still keeping his velocity down as he conditions in spring training. Many Yankee fans were very sorry to see the big man go.  With the new regional set up the Yankees will be seeing him in two series.
Cameron Maybin: Many fans were surprised that the Yankees didn’t keep Cameron Maybin on the team after all his did to help the injured squad last season. They may still be dismayed with the injuries to all the outfield Yankee players in spring training. Maybin played last year in all the outfield positions and his contributions at the plate. Maybe not a power hitter had 118 reached bases in 239 plate appearances. During the offseason, Maybin floundered, hoping for a place to play. Just as spring training started, he was picked up by the Tigers, joining Austin Romine. So far in spring training, he’s had 13 at-bats with only one hit. When interviewed, he said:

“Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to come in here and just be tearing it up,” he said Monday morning. “But I’ve seen a lot of guys make the team out of camp and then get released in a month. I’d like to start off great, but I always say, when that red dot comes on March 26, I’m ready to go.”

We wish all of our ex-Yankees players the best of luck in the upcoming season and their careers.
EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow him on Twitter. @parleewilliam.

The Importance of the New York Mets Bullpen in a Short Season

As Major League Baseball continues to juggle the idea of playing baseball again this season, teams are scrambling to get their pitchers ready. The New York Mets will rely heavily on their bullpen through the first month of their season as pitchers get their endurance up to speed.

If there are only two weeks of Spring Training games before the season starts, it is not enough to get a rotation ready. Each starter will get three starts max, which forces the bullpen to throw more innings early in the season. With the way pitchers work today, we will not see them at their peaks for at least 2-3 regular season starts.

Bullpen Importance

The needed relievers make sense as to why a potential 30-man roster is in the works. Anywhere from 1-4 extra relievers are required in order to be competitive during the first part of the season. Late inning relievers like Edwin Diaz, Dellin Betances, and Seth Lugo will have their critical roles. Middle relief is where the key outs will be. If starters only go 4-5 innings during the first couple weeks of the season, someone has to bridge the gap.

Brad Brach, Justin Wilson, Jeurys Familia, and potentially Drew Smith are a few middle relievers who will have to finish the work for the starter. Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo are the only relievers who can pitch multiple innings due to their starting pitching backgrounds. Most likely, Lugo’s outings come late in games while Gsellman will take most of the multiple innings appearances from innings four through seven.

During 2019, in outings of more than one innings, Gsellman had a 2.18 ERA. It included multiple three-inning outings where he kept teams scoreless and the Mets in the game. When healthy, he can play as big of a role as Lugo, just earlier in the game.

Luckily the Mets employ Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman, two of the most in-shape pitchers throughout baseball. The Mets can be more flexible with how deep each of them pitch, compared to the average pitcher. While deGrom moves in silence without social media, Stroman displays all the works he is putting in for the eventual season. Depth is a key part for any championship team and the Mets can finally say they have it on both sides of the ball.

New York Mets: How Does a Shortened Season Affect the Trade Deadline

If the Major League Baseball season resumes in June, with the regular season starting in July, it will shift the season entirely. The New York Mets, along with the rest of baseball, will have to assess their needs quicker than ever before.

Thinking of the trade deadline is very distant considering that a spring training game has not been played yet. But the Mets should be planning for every possible situation. They already head into the season without Zack Wheeler, due to free agency, and Noah Syndergaard, to Tommy John Surgery.

Pitching is Key

Whether it is the rotation or the bullpen the Mets will have key questions to answer. In the rotation, it will lean on if Steven Matz can hold down the three spot in the rotation. If not the will need to find a quality mid-rotation start they can lean on to pitch the middle games of a postseason series. Out of the entire rotation, Matz is the biggest variable.

The bullpen features the questions that have been discussed all year. How healthy is Dellin Betances and how does Edwin Diaz/Jeurys Familia rebound from their 2019 struggles. At this point Betances should be fully healthy but who knows about the final two. Diaz has looked fine while pitching during the delay and Familia’s weight loss are steps in the right direction.

If the trade deadline remains on July 31, teams get less than a month to evaluate their roster. The best move would be to move the deadline to August 30 to give teams an extra month to make a trade. An extreme alternative would be to extend the trade deadline through the last day of the season which will create chaos on par with NBA free agency.

The date is likely set with each plan the MLB has laid out and it is only a matter of time before those dates get released along with the season schedule.

 

New York Mets: Dellin Betances Future With the Mets

New York Mets pursuing Dellin Betances.

Like many players who signed one-year deals in the offseason, Dellin Betances is going to have a limited chance to show the New York Mets he is still an All-Star. After only pitching in one game during the 2018 season due to Achilles and lat injuries Betances only pitched in a handful of games before Coronavirus delayed his comeback journey.

Betances was on track to return during the first month of the season if everything went to plan. One of the doubts of signing Betances was the obvious health concerns. Those were the only thing standing between him and a multi-year deal.

Concerns With Betances?

If you have taken a look at any Betances article or column over the last 48 hours you will see a lot of people who had nothing else to write about. When describing Betances the word “if” is brought up a lot. These pertain to his health and control which is understandable. What does not make sense is these so-called “experts” are not breaking anything new or giving us any helpful information.

The analysis is simple.

Betances is going to have trouble find his footing once baseball activities finally resume, just like every other player. The extra time works in his favor instead of against him. All of his ailments will have extra time to heal and combining that with his pending free agency in the offseason. At age 32, he does not want to be the Fernando Rodney type of reliever where he bounces from team to team each season.

Confidence should be sky-high for Betances. His track record shows nothing but dominance and even an average year gives the Mets a quality bullpen arm.

LIVE From New York Mets Spring Training: Jacob deGrom Leads a Solid Pitching Effort

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

New York Mets manager Luis Rojas used his pitching staff in a very similar manner as to what we can expect during the regular season. Jacob deGrom started and pitched four solid innings, and Rojas used his three big relievers after that as the Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 7-3.

It was an excellent way for all of us at the soldout Clover Park to see what was an almost full game with starters, as that may not be the case down the road as the fears of the coronavirus are starting to affect attendance at other major sporting events. Nonetheless, it was quite encouraging to see most of the top arms for the Mets pitch well under the warm Florida sun.

deGrom rounding into form for the New York Mets

The two time Cy Young winner looked exactly what you would expect in the first three innings. He struck out Dexter Fowler and Yadier Molina in the first inning. The other Cardinal batters in those three innings could only manage weak groundouts or pop-ups against deGrom.

His fastball velocity looked good, although exact MPH numbers are not posted during this game, we overheard a Mets staffer say he was in the upper 90s.  It certainly looked and sounded like the upper 90’s. His other pitches kept players off-balance, much as we have seen in previous years. He stumbled a bit in the fourth inning when it looked like he got a couple of pitches up in the strike zone, and Matt Carpenter sent one of those over the left-field wall, albeit with maybe a little help from a nice breeze. In all, deGrom faced 13 batters, striking out three without walking anyone.

The New York Mets three big bullpen arms had good outings

Dellin Betances came in to pitch the fifth inning, and while a bit shaky, was much better than his first outing. He walked one batter and retired three batters on fly-outs that were hit pretty hard. Overall, a very encouraging effort. Jeurys Familia pitched the sixth inning. The Met’s single-season franchise saves record-holder walked one but gave up no hits and looked solid. Edwin Diaz pitched the seventh, still facing mostly Cardinal starters, and had a 1-2-3 inning. Very comforting to see all three pitch well.

The only negative of the day came from Brad Brach. The veteran reliever gave up three hits, including a home run in only recording two outs in the eighth inning. Brach appeared to have some difficulty in locating his pitches.

 

New York Mets: Matz Shines, Betances Struggles in 5-0 Loss

New York Mets, New York Yankees, Steven Matz

The theme for the New York Mets throughout Spring Training has been great starting pitching and a dreadful offensive output. The trend remained the same for Steven Matz and the rest of the Mets as they lost to the Washington Nationals, 5-0.

Matz had everything working and pitched three perfect innings with three strikeouts. Out of the trio including Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha, Matz has undoubtedly been the best. The outing dropped his Spring ERA to a sparkling 1.50.

Betances, Familia Struggle

Dellin Betances made his long-awaited Mets debut. Still recovering from his Achilles injury, he only recorded one out in his appearance. He allowed two walks, struck out one and gave up a two-RBI single to Ryan Zimmerman. To go along with the bad outing he also allowed two stolen bases and uncorked a wild pitch. Betances’s velocity was way down but the one bright spot is Betances having no issues with the Achillies.

Jeurys Familia did not fair as bad as Betances. He made it through his one inning of work but allowed four hits including a home run. Familia did strike out two and his ERA only increased to 2.25 for the Spring.

Nimmo Hot, Cano Cold

Brandon Nimmo continues to make a case to be the Mets leadoff hitter. His 2-for-3 outing brought his average to .435 on the Spring. Out of the nine games Nimmo has played he has only gone hitless in two. Robinson Cano is still searching for a fraction of the success Nimmo has. His 0-for-3 dropped him to .091, but only in 11 at-bats so far. An interesting stat for Cano is that in 15 Spring Trainings, he has only hit below .300, three times.

The shutout put the Mets back as the lowest-scoring offense in Spring Training. On Sunday, they face the reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros. The Mets will counter with Noah Syndergaard on the mound.

New York Mets: Dellin Betances not concerned about fastball velocity yet

New York Yankees, Dellin Betances

Dellin Betances, the New York Mets‘ stellar free agent signing for the bullpen, isn’t concerned about his velocity loss this spring.

What’s more, he remains confident that he will be ready to help the Mets since day one. To this date, he hasn’t appeared on any spring training games, but he’s progressing nicely.

“That’s the goal,” the hurler said to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. He pitched one inning in a simulated game Tuesday.

“(Opening day) was my goal all offseason, and I’ve worked really hard to get to this point. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be realistic.”

Last season was a lost one for Betances, and injuries are to blame. He suffered a shoulder ailment, and when he came back in September, he tore his Achilles tendon in his first game back.

The tear, thankfully, was partial, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to even entertain being ready for opening day as a possibility. If he hadn’t been injured, he would have been in line for a multi-year contract as one of MLB’s best relievers from 2014 to 2018. Instead, he signed with the Mets for $10.5 million for one year. Incentives and options could extend the pact and pay him more.

Getting closer to helping the Mets

The former Yankees pitcher getting closer: he could be just days away from making his debut for the New York Mets. However, some scouts have noted his once elite fastball velocity hover around the low 90s, according to estimates.

Betances thinks that the velocity will return over time as he builds strength. “I’ve known myself for a long time,” Betances said. “I know right now, it’s not coming out the way it would come out during the season. It takes me a little bit to get that going, but I know everything’s been good. … We have enough time for that.”

New York Mets’ relievers Dellin Betances and Seth Lugo are edging closer

The New York Mets continue to round into form with less than a month away from the start of the regular season. The battles for rotation spots and places in the bullpen and the bench are more intense than ever, and there is a highly competitive setting in training camp and spring games.

Two relievers that, if healthy, will have theis spots safe in the roster are Seth Lugo and Dellin Betances. The former was one of the National League’s best relievers last season – to be fair, he has been elite for several years – and the latter is eager to show he is healthy and can be an option from day one after tearing his Achilles in September.

The New York Mets haven’t yet offered a timetable to return when it comes to the pair of stellar hurlers. Lugo fractured his left pinkie toe in a hotel accident a couple of weeks ago. That incident resulted in several days lost, but he has been throwing from a mound for a while and could return any day now. His status for opening day isn’t in danger, at least not yet.

The Mets are taking it easy with both relievers

The idea is for Lugo to appear in Grapefruit League games this week, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

He threw a round of live batting practice on Sunday. Rehabbing slugger Yoenis Cespedes belted two home runs off him.

“The second one where he fell down, he just got it in the wind. The first one, that was a good swing, but I wouldn’t pitch him like that in a real game, so I knew what I was getting into,” Lugo said.

Betances, meanwhile, threw his own round of live batting practice on Friday. The Mets are taking baby steps with him given the nature of his injury.

However, the expectation is that Betances is ready and available for opening day. The tear he suffered was partial, which helped the healing process quite a bit. He was one of the most dominant relievers in all baseball since 2014, but only threw an inning last season because of a myriad of ailments.

New York Mets: Dellin Betances is ready to move on from his injury issues

New York Yankees, Dellin Betances

Dellin Betances was maybe the New York Mets‘ most important free agent signing of the offseason. Sure, if Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha work out, that sentence could be subject for reconsideration, but right now, the bullpen needed someone with Betances’ pedigree and ability.

The former Yankee signed on Christmas Eve, and when he did it, Carlos Beltran (his close friend) was supposed to be his manager. A couple of months later, that’s no longer the case but Betances is still highly commited to the Mets.

“I felt bad at the time for him,” Betances said to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. “Obviously, I gave him his space. He has a beautiful family that’s helped him through this process. For me, I’m just excited for our new manager, Luis Rojas. I think a lot of our players are excited about him.”

He doesn’t want to concentrate on “what could have been” with Beltran. Instead, he needs to show that he will be fully healthy and cleared to dominate opposing teams from opening day. He is well on his way to do it.

The Mets’ star reliever is already throwing bullpens

By now, Betances has thrown multiple bullpen sessions. The most recent one was yesterday. Barring something unexpected, he will be ready to take the hill in the first day of the season. That wasn’t a given back in September when he suffered a partial Achilles tear.

Thankfully, it was that: partial. That gave him plenty of time to recover in time. Before that, Betances had missed almost all of the 2019 season with shoulder issues.

Betances’ offseason was full of ankle exercises to strengthen the area. “I’m confident,” he said. “I put in a lot of work this offseason, a lot of hours to make sure that I came into camp ready. I feel good at this point.”

From 2014 to 2018 Betances was arguably the best and most consistently dominant reliever in the American League. During that timeframe he was third in K/9 (14.63) eight in ERA (2.22) fourth in FIP (2.26) second in fWAR (11.2) and first in strikeouts (607.)

If healthy, he should set up for closer Edwin Diaz for the New York Mets, joining a seemingly formidable bullpen alongside Seth Lugo, Justin Wilson, Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman and whoever loses the fifth starter battle.