Mets, Dellin Betances, and a lesson learned from Adam Wainwright

Dellin Betances - Signed by the Mets (Photo:

The Mets need help in their bullpen. Dellin Betances is a perfect fit. But both sides would be wise to take a cue from Adam Wainwright…

According to multiple reports, the Mets are “looking at” Dellin Betances as one answer to their bullpen needs. A wise choice among the rapidly shrinking crop of free-agent relievers, Betances features some impressive numbers over six full seasons with the Yankees.

A four-time All-Star, the 6’8″ 260lb right-hander, is an imposing figure on the mound, reminiscent of Bob Gibson.

Betances has logged 381 innings, amassing 621 strikeouts, while surrendering only 29 home runs and pitching to a 2.38 ERA.

The credentials are there, and Betances will continue to gather interest not only from the Mets but other clubs as well.

Except for one thing…

There’s only one hitch. Dellin Betances pitched in only one game last year after shoulder and lat injuries and then tearing his left Achilles tendon in September.

Dellin Betances, New York Yankees
Dellin Betances, New York Yankees Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Advised that the Achilles would not require surgery, it’s possible Betances can be ready when the 2020 season opens.

Currently not tied to a major league team, Betances is on his own regarding a training program and rehab.

Any team that signs him will require an extensive physical before letting the ink dry on a contract.

This is to suggest Dellin Betances has reason to do some thinking and soul-searching about his immediate and long-term future as a big-league pitcher.

To what degree does Betances trust his health and ability to bounce back with a “Betances-like” season as a valuable piece in the Mets bullpen. Likewise, the Mets have the same to consider before making an offer.

Mets, Betances, and Adam Wainwright

Which brings us to Adam Wainwright, who was shut down for all by eight games due to injury in the 2018 season. As a free agent in 2019, Wainwright and teams interested in him faced a situation similar to that of Betances now.

Wainwright’s choice was to sign a one-year deal with his old te

Adam Wainwright, 2019 comeback from injury (Photo: Minot League Baseball)
Adam Wainwright, 2019 comeback from injury (Photo: Minot League Baseball)

am, the St. Louis Cardinals, apparently deciding to trust his health and ability, signing a team-friendly $2 million agreement for the 2019 season that was laden with performance bonuses.

Following a comeback 14-10 season over 31 starts with the Cardinals, Wainwright’s confidence in himself earned another one-year deal for the upcoming season with $5 million, and additional performance bonuses worth another five-million dollars.

One-year deals were once commonplace in baseball. Bob Gibson, Mickey Mantle, and Yogi Berra played their entire careers year-to-year with contracts based mainly on their performance in the previous year.

It was mainly a “what have you done for me lately” system. By that criteria, Dellin Betances might just as well fold his tent now.

But just as the marriage between Wainwright and the Cardinals proved to be a win-win for both sides, Betances and the Mets would seem to have mutual needs and interests – if Betances wishes to remain in New York with the chance of cashing in next year with the Mets.

As a reliever, Betances is flexible, and he’s been used by the Yankees from the seventh inning on.

With the Mets starting rotation in flux and subject to a need to return Seth Lugo as a starter, Betances has been there and done it as a closer.

Equal risk but equal gain

The Mets, or any other team, would be ill-advised to give Betances the three-year deal he is probably looking to sign.

Betances is a bull of a man, but with injuries, especially those surrounding a pitcher, you never know.

Therefore, between the Mets and Betances, the risk must be born on both sides, just as it was with Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals. A one-year fair offer laden with incentives, if reached, means both parties go home happy.

What’s there not to like…

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.