Yankees: Dellin Betances Deserves More Respect
By Phil Akre
New York Yankees reliever Dellin Betances lost his arbitration hearing and was forced to settle for $3 million. The organization needs to consider its actions against one of their best players.
Dellin Betances, the Yankees preeminent setup man in baseball, has been a bargain thus far through his professional career. He’s been one of the top relievers in the game for the past three years and has earned a total of just $3,035,256 through his first five seasons in the league, per Spotrac. But, what happened when he asked for a salary raise to $5,000,000?; a series of unfortunate events?
The Yankees took Betances to arbitration in hopes of winning the settlement at $3,000,000. Well, they took home the victory, as Betances lost the hearing and will now earn $3,000,000 next season. It was all settled and done, and both the Yankees and Betances could move past it. That was until team president Randy Levine had to verbally assault one of the most talented players on his roster.
So, leading all major league relievers in strikeouts over the last three seasons equates to, Betances “doesn’t have the stats”? Betances has been everything the Yankees could have hoped for in his past three seasons, as he has emerged as an elite arm out of the pen. He’s 1st in innings pitched, 1st in strikeouts, and 3rd in WAR in his last three seasons. Sorry, Mr. Levine, but those stats are pretty good for a guy that once looked like a wasted draft pick.
Levine didn’t stop there, as he went on to say, “It’s like me saying, I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut. I’m not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer,” per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
For Betances, the three-time All-Star and lifelong Yankees fan, his plan was to move past the arbitration hearing. But, after hearing Levine’s statements, a change of heart was inevitable.
"“I was planning on putting everything behind me until I was aware of Randy Levine’s comments saying I was the victim in this whole process and saying how much they love me, but then they take me in a room trash me for about an hour-and-a-half. I thought that was unfair.” – Dellin Betances, per ESPN’s Andrew Marchand"
Now, I understand baseball is a business first, and feelings don’t matter when it comes to the money aspect of the sport. However, this is different. Betances has never been one to scoff at his earnings, which have been close to the league minimum. He’s been a focal point of a sometimes shaky Yankees bullpen. Since he has become an elite into an elite arm, it wasn’t wrong for him to ask for a reasonable raise.
Arbitration cases are never a good time. They never make relations between the player and the team better. If anything, they are extremely damaging. It would have been fine for the Yankees to win the case and be on their way. Instead, Levine had to take things too far. It’s entirely reasonable to think that his comments didn’t make Betances feel real good about himself.
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But what does this say about the organization? We’re supposed to be all aboard the youth movement hype train, which surely looks promising. But, why did Levine have to publicly berate one of the premier talents in the game? What kind of message is that sending to other teams? This is the type of moment where the organization lives up to its “Evil Empire” billing.
While it may not seem like it, Levine has now created a problem. Betances, in all likelihood, won’t look at management the same, perhaps feeling he isn’t worth much to his team.
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Would he welcome a trade? That’s up for debate and perhaps a bit extreme, but it’s safe to say that the arbitration case has soured relations between the Yankees and one of baseball’s best pitchers.