It may be a bit last minute, but the New York Mets did give their fans a nice present. The Mets have agreed to terms on a contract with the top free agent reliever left on the market, former Yankees’ right-hander Dellin Betances. SNY’s baseball insider Andy Martino was the first to break the news.
Financial terms of the deal are below from Jon Heyman, but it does appear clear that some of the money the Mets saved from restructuring Yoenis Cespedes’ contract went towards signing Betances. It is also worth noting that Betances has a player option for 2021.
This deal is an absolute home run for the Mets, who add a potentially elite arm to a bullpen that desperately needed more help. Betances essentially took a one year prove-it deal after missing most of 2018 due to injury, but he is one of the most dominant relievers in the game when healthy. From 2014-2018, Betances recorded over 100 strikeouts each year, making him the first relief pitcher in big league history to accomplish that feat. Betances also led all relievers in strikeouts from 2014-2016. Sam Haggerty was designated for assignment to make room for Betances on the 40-man roster.
In the team’s press release to announce the signing, General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said the following about Betances:
“Dellin is one of the elite relievers in the game with an incredible track record of pitching on the biggest stage and in playoff games. This is a tremendously exciting gift for Mets fans this holiday season in our championship pursuit.”
Betances also had a statement in the press release about his choice to join the Mets:
“I love New York. I grew up in Manhattan. Went to high school in Brooklyn. Played minor league ball in Staten Island. Made it to the big leagues in the Bronx. Now, I’m excited to go win a World Series with the Mets in Queens. Thanks to Fred and Jeff, Brodie, and all the other Mets staff who worked so hard to make possible this next step in my New York journey. Merry ChristMets! Let’s Go METS!”
This addition all but solidifies the Mets’ bullpen for 2020, which now includes Betances along with the returning Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo, Justin Wilson, Robert Gsellman, Brad Brach, and presumably either Michael Wacha or Steven Matz. If the Mets can get bounce back years from Diaz and Familia along with better health from Betances, their bullpen could be a dominant force this season.
There is still work for Van Wagenen to do entering the new year, such as upgrading the backup catcher position and finding more depth additions for the rotation and bullpen, but for the most part the Mets look like they have everything they need for Opening Day. Time will tell if these additions will be as impactful as simply retaining Zack Wheeler would have been, but the Mets have every reason to believe that 2020 could be a playoff year.