What's next for Dellin Betances after a lost 2019 season?

After a regular season that was marred by injuries, we are down to just the last few games and the playoffs are just over a week away. Despite a comical slew of injuries, the Yankees have punched their ticket to the postseason and have also managed to get back most of their major contributors. While they will head into the ALDS with as close to their “Death Star” lineup as we’ve seen all season, there are a few players that will not make it back for this year’s Yankees and one of the most notable is Dellin Betances. 

Credit: Bill Kostroun/AP

For most of the year, the story of Dellin Betances mirrored that of Luis Severino. Both were looking to be important pieces for this 2019 Yankees squad and both came down with shoulder and lat injuries during spring training. While these injuries are concerning for power pitchers, they were not thought to be overly serious and we all expected they would be back before too long. That was not the case however as both players would suffer multiple setbacks in their road to recovery and it would be September before we would see both players suit up for a game. This is where their stories diverge though. While Severino looked strong in his return and has had no further issues, Dellin teased us with one promising outing before his season came to an unfortunate, shocking end. 

He made his return on September 15th and faced two batters, striking out both. After striking out the second batter, he hopped off the mound as he often does and moved towards the dugout and then laughed as he realized he had confused the number of outs. He was removed from the game, smiling and encouraged by the return and we didn’t see him again or hear any news until Tuesday the 17th. Dellin had apparently woken up with some foot soreness after the outing and when he went for further testing we all learned that he had partially torn his achilles. 

The best word to describe how Yankee fans were feeling is shock but that quickly moved to heartbreak. Dellin has been a staple in the Yankees bullpen for years and as much as we were all looking forward to having him back, it was more difficult to stomach for me personally that he actually came back and then got hurt again. He received an outpouring of support from Aaron Boone and from his teammates as well. After seeing his excitement as he came off the mound, watching him become the latest injury casualty was just terrible.  We got to see him be Dellin Betances for one brief moment before it was taken away from us again and that really stinks, for all of us fans and for Dellin, especially. 

What comes next for Dellin after all of this is a question mark. While injuries to the achilles are serious, Dellin has received multiple opinions and surgery was not recommended. Chairman of sports medicine at Penn Medicine, Dr Brian Sennett, weighed in on the injury: “Overall prognosis is good and he should be ready for spring training. Just poor timing to return this year due to the fact that the World Series will be over in approximately six weeks.” By all accounts here, Dellin is very lucky that he didn’t suffer a complete tear and instead just has a partial one. It even seems like if this had happened earlier in the year he would have had a chance to come back. Either way, that experts think Dellin could show up to spring training next year fully healthy and ready to go is encouraging and a reason for hope. 

Also of note, for the first time in his career he will become a free agent and while I’m sure the Yankees would love to have him back, there are no guarantees. Betances was born and raised in New York and seems to have enjoyed his time with the Yankees. He has not been on record about the impending free agency but I’m sure he would welcome the opportunity to return the team where he has had so much success. 

Although there was some acrimony between Dellin and the organization during his arbitration process back in 2017, it doesn’t seem like there have been any lingering effects from that. Still, it is possible Dellin could be lured away by an opportunity to close or a contract offer too big to refuse. Buster Olney floated the idea that such an offer could come from the crosstown Mets as they look to improve their bullpen, but it remains to be seen whether the Mets have serious interest in Betances. 

While Yankee fans may have to entertain the thought of Dellin donning another team’s uniform next season, I believe he will ultimately return on a two or three year deal. Something in the neighborhood of what Adam Ottavino got, three years, $27 million, would be a fair deal and a nice reward for his performance thus far. The Yankees are in a strong position in terms of their payroll health and should be able to come to terms with this homegrown fan favorite, barring a lowball offer from Brian Cashman or a big offer from another team, perhaps with a chance to close as well. Regardless of what happens, I am hoping that he gets healthy and puts this lost season behind him. I will be very excited to watch him pitch when next season comes around and I certainly hope it's for the Yankees.   

Article by Matt Graziano 


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