The New York Yankees may have won their arbitration hearing against Dellin Betances, but they are in danger of losing in the long term.
There is no questioning that Dellin Betances is quite the talent in the bullpen. He has established himself as one of the best setup men in the game, posting a 2.16 ERA and a 1.001 WHiP, striking out 404 batters in 254.2 innings of work. While he has not had as much success as a closer, Betances has still saved 21 games in the past two years for the New York Yankees when he has had to fill in.
It was with that closing experience that Betances and his representatives asked for $5 Million in arbitration, opposed to the Yankees counter of $3 Million. The Yankees won their hearing yesterday, but in doing so, may have set the stage to lose Betances in the years to come.
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While Betances and his agents have attempted to engage the Yankees in talks for a long term extension, those talks have gone virtually nowhere. This follows the decision to renew Betances’ salary at the Major League minimum last season, a decision that further the disconnect between the two sides. And, his attempt to settle the case before the hearing was rebuffed by the Yankees as well.
Now, to make matters worse for this relationship, Yankees President Randy Levine took the opportunity to rip his setup man and representatives. Levine said that their salary request was a “half baked attempt to us a player to change a well-established market” that these requests had “no bearings in reality.” Meanwhile, Betances’ agent fired back, saying that they “would not be bullied” by Levine.
With this level of acrimony, it is likely that any attempts at a long term extension will be out the window for the foreseeable future. In fact, one has to imagine that, once he reaches free agency, Betances will look to head elsewhere as quickly as possible, leaving the Yankees behind. In fact, Betances said as much, stating that free agency will be an easier decision when the time comes.
There is an old saying about winning the battle but losing the war. In this case, the Yankees may well have defeated Betances, saving $2 Million, but the damage may prove to be beyond any money saved. Betances is already looking for greener pastures, and may well be counting down the days until free agency. This arbitration victory could prove to be a pyrrhic victory.
The New York Yankees won their arbitration case against Dellin Betances, but they have lose in the long term. In attacking Betances request after the hearing, the Yankees front office may have strained that relationship beyond repair.