Along with elite ratio help, Dellin Betances also provided double-digit saves for a second straight season as he served as the Yankees' closer last summer while Aroldis Chapman worked through physical and mechanical issues. Not a bad backup plan. Over the last three seasons, the 6-foot-8, 265-pounder has saved 31 games and has led relievers with a combined 14.8 K/9. Unfortunately, the converted starter's jagged delivery, which pulls him to the first-base side on nearly every offering, often corrupts his control. His 6.6 BB/9 was a glaring weakness hidden by that 2.87 ERA -- he benefited from another left-on-base percentage above 80. Relief pitchers work around such issues in small sample sizes, but huge dips in swinging-strike rate (15.4 to 12.7) and first-strike percentage (60.9 to 51.3) hint that the two-pitch hurler is becoming too predictable. It may only take tiny tweaks to correct those issues, however.
Betances agreed to a one-year, $5.1 million deal with the Yankees on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports. This was his second year as an arbitration-eligible player, and he will receive a raise of $2.1 million from last season. Betances had trouble with command for most of the year, and especially down the stretch, but still posted a 2.87 ERA and 1.22 WHIP with 100 strikeouts in 59.2 innings of work. Regardless of whether he's able to fix some of those problems, the right-hander will be a hot commodity in the fantasy realm, with top value in holds and his ability to make opponents miss.
Betances could be out as the Yankees' closer, David Lennon of Newsday reports. While he was set to be unavailable for Wednesday's game, which was postponed, after pitching on back-to-back days to start the week, it sounds like the Yankees are considering going with Aroldis Chapman again in that role. Betances has a 7.94 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 10 strikeouts with a save, a blown save and two losses in 5.2 innings since taking over as the closer. Meanwhile, Chapman has a 1.93 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and six strikeouts in 4.2 innings over that stretch.
Betances could get some save opportunities going forward after Aroldis Chapman was officially removed from the closer's role Saturday. The Yankees have the most talented bullpen in baseball, and David Robertson could also be an option in the ninth inning. All manager Joe Girardi said was that Chapman would be used in different situations as they attempt to get him right. Betances is already rostered in most fantasy leagues, but if he is available, he should be added immediately.
Betances will not be available to pitch in Friday's game against the Red Sox, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. The Yankees had to turn to Betances in a save situation Thursday with Aroldis Chapman ailing, but the club is hoping to have Chapman back for Friday's series opener. Regardless, manager Joe Girardi will avoid using Betances to prevent having him take the mound two days in a row. Look for Betances to be available if needed as early as Saturday.
Betances recorded his eighth save of the season in Thursday's win against the Mets. With Aroldis Chapman (hamstring) unavailable Thursday, it was up to Betances to close the door on the Mets, who had gotten within two after Curtis Granderson's grand slam with no outs in the ninth. Chapman could avoid the disabled list, but if he remains unavailable for any games this weekend, Betances would be in line for more ninth-inning work.