Dellin Betances had a rough start to his weekend.
The New York Yankees set-up man went to an arbitration hearing with the team Friday to determine the 28-year-old’s salary for the 2017 season, and Betances was asking for $5 million, while the Yankees wanted to pay him $3 million. They got the word Saturday morning that the Yankees won the battle, but instead of changing gears to spring training, things got pretty ugly.
The team had argued Betances was asking for closer money, and despite the fact that the New York City native was one of the best relievers in all of Major League Baseball in 2016, Yankees president Randy Levine apparently didn’t take kindly to that. This is what he had to say in a conference call with reporters Saturday.
Now, before getting in too deep, there are a couple things to point out. The $3 million Betances will receive is a record for a non-closing reliever in his first year of arbitration eligibility, as no other player had eclipsed even $2 million, so it’s not as though he left with nothing. Betances having just 22 saves last season definitely works in the Yankees’ favor, but Levine saying “he doesn’t have the stats” is a ridiculous overstatement.
As CBS Sports pointed out, over the last three seasons, Betances has the most innings pitched among all relievers with 247, the fifth-best ERA behind Wade Davis, Zach Britton, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller (all of whom could be considered elite) at 1.93, the most strikeouts with 392 and the third-best WAR behind Britton and Davis at 8.6. Then, there’s his numbers compared to Chapman’s, who’s a closer, in his first year of arbitration eligibility.
So, while it was unlikely Betances would have been awarded closer money in the first place, it definitely wasn’t necessary for Levine to pile on after winning. Not to mention, Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, said Levine pronounced his set-up man’s name incorrectly throughout the hearing.
Probably not the best look. Betances got the final word, too.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Sousa/USA TODAY Sports Images