Do The New York Mets Benefit From Dellin Betances?

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Dellin Betances

The New York Yankees just lost Dellin Betances to the NY Mets. What does this mean for the power dynamics in the battle for New York?

The Yankees Bullpen

Dellin was a cornerstone of the Yankees bullpen for much of this rapidly ending decade. A 95+ MPH fastball, and a FILTHY curveball. But what Dellin always suffered from was a regular case of inconsistency. 2017 saw him losing immense control right up to the playoff push that season, complete with a 9.00 ERA, and a WHIP of 3.0000 in the 2017 ALCS. The Yankees were able to construct a more than capable bullpen built around Betances from 2014-2018, and we largely didn’t need Dellin last year when he was hurt. But 5 consecutive years with 66 minimum innings pitched, and 100+ strikeouts is a serious blow.

But Does it Help the Mets?

Betances provides some stability to a largely unstable Mets bullpen. Look at what Jeurys Familia is capable of. Some great things, and he’s also painfully inconsistent. Edwin Diaz had arguably one of the most horrendous 2019’s a closer could have. Lugo was easily the brightest spots in the Mets pen last year. But is that enough to hinge your bets on? Thor and deGromm both can go deep enough into a game to help keep the pen fresh. But Porcello, Wacha, and Matz having inconsistent to awful years last years, having 3 guys in your pen you can’t rely on to stay steady an entire season leaves one to suspect how bad things can get.

What Caused Betances Going to Queens?

The best rationale is two possibilities. We all know how the Yankees are trying to save the most money while putting the team from the last 2 seasons back on the field with the necessary improvements of Gerrit Cole. Betances wanted at least $10 million and got $10.5 for 2020. If the Yankees took that on, they’d be paying closer to $15 million for Betances alone after the 42.5% of the luxury tax kicks in.

The next is the Yankees looked at what Betances was able to do for the team over the years. You can’t ignore the 500+ strikeouts over 5 seasons, but if he lost it, it took him too long to get it back. And missing most of last season with problems in his shoulder, to then bust his achilles last year… why would an analytics based team like the Yankees take that kind of risk on a 31, soon to be 32 year old?

I’m sorry to see Dellin go, but unless he can turn it around in a BIG way next season, 2019 was the last time we saw Betances in pinstripes.

The New York Yankees May Not Be Done Shopping For Pitchers

New York Mets pursuing Dellin Betances.

A lot of what I’ve been saying in my writing “The New York Yankees should do this”, is starting to come true. I told them they need to forget about the luxury tax and buy a starting pitcher, they did just that and got Cole. I told them they should try shopping JA Happ, they’re doing that now. I told them they need to sign Brett Gardner, they do that. So when I saw this rumor on Twitter, and it was corroborated by our own Alexander Wilson, I thought “Let’s see if they keep listening”.

This Would Be THE BEST Rotation In Baseball

Through the grapevine, the New York Yankees are looking to acquire one more arm, who would automatically move Sevy, Paxton, and Tanka to the 3, 4, and 5 spots in the rotation respectively. That arm is a three-time World Series champion this decade. And that is the left arm of Madison Bumgarner.

Now I know a lot of you are saying “He’s too old,” “he’s on the decline”, so just hold up. The guy is turning 30 next season, pitched over 200 innings, had a sub 4 ERA on a TERRIBLE Giants team, struck out over 200, and is on the comeback from back to back injury-shortened years by making all 34 starts he was scheduled to make for the Giants.

Yes, he gave up 30 home runs. And I already talked about how Cole will have to adjust to bring his fly-ball rate and home run totals down as well. But how could you not salivate at the prospect of your front 5 being Cole, MadBum, Sevy, Big Maple, and Masahiro Tanaka?! This would be baseball’s best starting rotation.

Why It Won’t Happen

It seems to be common knowledge that MadBum has no intention of leaving the national league. We all know the dude loves to hit, and that would be taken away from him pitching in the Bronx. And considering the success he has seen on the west coast, it seems more than likely that he’ll sign with the Dodgers.

Why It Could Happen

Bringing Andy Pettitte to talk to Cole did a lot to help persuade him to sign. MadBum is from North Carolina, recently retained Brett Gardner is from South Carolina. I think you all see where I’m going with this.

Why the New York Yankees Fans Should Temper Expectations Early For Gerrit Cole

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees have landed their great white whale. The New York Yankees signed one of the best pitchers in baseball, Gerrit Cole! I’m celebrating just as much as the next Yankees fan, but… I’m also tempering my expectations early in Cole’s first season.

Why Temper Expectations?

According to fangraphs.com, Cole’s fly ball/home run rate was above the league average in 2019. League average was roughly 15%, Cole was at 16%. “Oh, yea, 1%,” some of you are saying derisively. “I’m REAL worried.”

You should be.

Cole gave up 29 home runs last year. Tanaka, who’s been hurt by the long ball, gave up 28. Paxton gave up 23. German and Happ each gave up 30 or more.

Cole is going to have to adjust. PNC Park, where he started as a Pirate, is 325 to left, and 320 to right. It was 326 to right pitching in Houston and 315 to left. We ALL KNOW it’s 314 down either line to the wall in Yankee Stadium. 

We also need to anticipate that the Yankees analytics department won’t let Cole pitch into the 7th inning or later on a regular basis. At least, not until June or July at the earliest. 

He’ll Figure it Out Though

He’s good and crafty enough to adjust and figure out how to pitch in Yankee Stadium. But, it’s going to take a while to get there. Knowing Yankees fans, they’re going to call him a bum if he goes 2-2 in April, say that he was overpaid, all of that and more. Yankees fans seem to forget that Paxton was 5-6 by July 26th, averaging 5 innings or fewer the entire season. All anyone seems to remember is he was good from August through his second to the last start (remember how he tweaked a glute muscle his last start? Because I do, and I LAUGHED about how he hurt his butt!).

But it happens every year when someone is in a slump as a player. It doesn’t matter who it is, the fans always forget just how long the season is, and that we don’t need to kill it right out the gate.

The New York Yankees Need an Ace as Insurance for Domingo German

New York Yankees, Domingo German

It can’t be understated the dire situation the New York Yankees are regarding Domingo German. And I’m not talking about if he is or isn’t guilty of domestic abuse. Well, there’s a little to be said about that, but what do the Yankees do if Domingo German is facing any kind of suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy.

What his loss would mean for the Yankees

Domingo German had the best record for the New York Yankees as a starter. In his 27 games pitched, 24 of which he started, he completed 58.8% of a 9 inning game. By comparison, Tanaka completed 63.2% of a 9 inning game, but was 11-9 with a higher ERA than German, making German more efficient. German also walked fewer batters over 9 innings than Tanaka, struck out more per 9 innings than Happ and Paxton, and looked better than CC when healthy. A one, two punch of German and Severino would be formidable. (baseball-reference.com)

What the Rotation Looks Like Without German

There’s no knowing if German will get suspended, as we’ve been waiting for a few months now for baseball’s ruling. If he is suspended, there’s a likely probability some of the suspension will be a factor out of the time he already served in suspension back in September. But he’s what it would look like if he’s serving a suspension opening day, through April as Aroldis Chapman did in 2016:

Luis Severino (hasn’t pitched a full season since 2018)

James Paxton

Masahiro Tanaka (who’s getting worse in the regular season over the last 3 years)

JA Happ

Jordan Montgomery (hasn’t pitched a full season since 2017)

You need security for the chance that German won’t be there for any amount of time.

A Note About Domestic Violence

This issue transcends baseball and wanting what’s best for one’s team. Domestic abuse/violence is a serious issue that deserves all the attention in the world. The Yankees I feel have handled this situation with the class and severity that it deserves. As much as I want to see the Yankees field the best team possible, if German is found to be guilty, I hope he accepts his punishment and learns something from it.

A Successful 2020 Yankees Lineup Must Include Urshela and Andujar

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

Much is being made of the New York Yankees needing help to bolster their starting rotation. And it’s all merited. Our starting rotation, as it stands, going into 2020 is Masahiro Tanka (coming off of one of his worst regular seasons in professional American baseball), James Paxton, Luis Severino (after missing all but a handful of starts in September and a few playoff starts), JA Happ (after an absolutely dreadful season), and Jordan Montgomery (who has pitched a combined 31.1 innings since 2018). This is a rotation that needs help. We can’t ride our bullpen like we’ve been doing the last few years, because they’ll get exhausted by October, and we’ll have another year of missing the World Series. To put it in perspective, Chapman, Green, Ottavino, Britton, and Kahnle threw for 312 innings combined in 2019. Tanaka and Paxton threw for 332.2 innings combined.

Our offense needs to improve as well. We were one of the most feared lineups in baseball in 2019. But we struck out over 1,400 times in the regular season and striking out over 90 times throughout the postseason. Strikeouts are a liability that plague every team, and if we didn’t strike out as much as we did against Houston, it would have been us playing Washington in the World Series.

Our Murderers Row is Our Greatest Strength AND Weakness

Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit, these are guys with power that can take you deep in an instant. But good lord are they strikeout prone. Using Stanton’s strikeout totals from 2018 (the dude did miss practically all of 2019 after all) and add it up to the other 4’s strikeout totals from this year, you have 748 strikeouts throughout a given season. Edwin Encarnacion, who struck out 103 times during the regular season, struck out an appalling 13 times in October. The strikeouts have to come down, across the board if we want meaningful games played deep into October.

Why You Have to Include Andujar and Urshela in the 2020 Lineup

Gio Urshela has a lot to prove in 2020, namely that 2019 wasn’t a fluke year offensively. He also needs to show he can bounce back from playing a full season as, up till last year, he was a career backup third baseman/bench player. But he struck out 87 times last year, which was 3 fewer times than our offensive stalwart DJ LeMahieu.

Miguel Andujar has quite a bit riding on him too. It’s not easy coming back from surgically repairing a torn labrum after having a breakout first season performance as he did. The last Yankee in recent memory who did this was Greg Bird (remember his 2015 and how he never was the same again?). But there is far less riding on his shoulders as the main two things he has to prove are 1) That he’s healthy, and 2) That his defense improved since 2018.

I’ve used the comparison metric for these two men of “the first full season they played”, but I’ll expand to their full careers. Andujar has struck out 108 times in his career (97 times in 2018), with a career .318 OBP and a .819 OPS.  Gio Urshela has struck out 177 times in his career, with a career .313 OBP and a .735 (.889 in 2019) OPS. Gleyber Torres has a .338/.849 OBP/OPS, but has struck out over 200 times in his career. Aaron Judge is .394/.952 but has struck out over 500 times in his 4-year career.

This shows that Urshela and Andujar are capable of getting on base, SLUGGING their ways on base (on par with what Gleyber Torres can do) but are far less likely to strikeout in the key at-bat of the game. Torres and Judge are more adept at getting on base and slugging their ways on, but we’ve seen how strikeout happy they are.

The answer is clear. Both guys have to be in the lineup if you want to offset the K machine that is the New York Yankees Murderer’s Row. Otherwise, you’re in for another disappointing finish to a great season.

The Yankees have a $34 million dollar question, and his name is JA Happ

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ

JA Happ was an enigma for the New York Yankees this season. By and large, the 2020 season for Happ was an exercise in mediocrity. 34 home runs, over 161.1 innings pitched, 140 strikeouts, and an ERA of 4.91. Sure, he “figured it out” down the stretch, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that he was demoted to bullpen work in the playoffs.

But, the Yankees have a question that needs answering. The starting rotation is in shambles. You have Tanaka, Severino, and Paxton as your obvious front 3 based off last season. Sabathia retired, and no one is sure about Domingo German. Paxton is still under contract for the next 2 seasons, with a guaranteed option kicking in for 2021 if he makes 27 starts and pitches 165 innings. So what do you do with Happ? (mlb.com)

Do you start him?

The New York Yankees need to sign one, if not two, front line pitchers. During a free agency with Cole, Strasburg, Bumgartner, and Ryu on the market, you have to sign one of them. Yes, you can’t have 5 pitchers with all-star seasons, but could you imagine 4 straight starts with Severino, Paxton, Tanaka and one of those 4 I listed in a row? How can you NOT salivate?

The problem in retaining Happ is that a bad season this late in his career will ultimately lead to more bad seasons. The guy is 39 years old, scheduled to pitch till he’s 41, He’s averaged a 14-10 record over the length of his career with an ERA just under 4.00. And if the Domingo German situation resolves in such a way that he comes back to start, German is UNQUESTIONABLY the 5th guy on the totem pole. He had 153 strikeouts, 39 walks, gave up 69 runs on 125 hits over 143 innings. Oh, yea, and an 18-4 record. He’s a number 3 or number 4 starter. Happ is truly expendable, but who will take him for $34 million?

Trade options.

Mike Fires is probably one of the better trade options the Yankees could get. Should the A’s agree to pick up most of the rest of Happ’s contract, Fires is owed a meager $8.1 million for 2020. That’ll be the end of his contract. He’ll be 35 years old, and has been averaging a 14-6 record, 175 innings pitched, a 3.75 ERA, 130 K’s, and 40 walks over the last two seasons. He’s also averaging about 30 home runs a season over that span, but Happ also gave up 35 home runs over last year. So… you’re upgrading with Fires, as well as saving about half of what you’d pay Happ next year.

It’s unquestionable that Happ is the odd man out in the Yankees rotation next season. Trading him makes the most sense. If we don’t nab one of the big-name free agents, we can package Happ for the young prospective pitcher, by packaging Happ with someone like Nestor Cortes Jr., Luis Cesa, or even Jordan Montgomery. Other trade options exist, but Fires is the one I think makes the most sense.

This was just another prime example of the Yankees paying lip service. “Oh, we want to stay under the luxury tax, but we’re going to field a championships quality team.” You don’t field a championships caliber team by giving $50 million dollars to a 38-year-old with a career ERA of 3.99, a 121-90 record, and averaging 3.2 K’s per 9 innings.