Even while the Mets are apparently saving money, they aren’t reallocating it to logical upgrades.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported on Tuesday that the Mets are “not likely,” to sign free-agent reliever Dellin Betances, who is coming off an injury-shortened campaign with the crosstown Yankees in 2019.
The 31-year-old righty was limited to just 0.2 innings of work last year due to a shoulder and lat injury that held him out until September. He then partially tore his Achilles tendon during his season debut.
The timing could not have been any worse for Betances, who is one of the more elite starting pitchers in the game when he’s healthy (and consistent).
From 2014-2018, he posted a 2.22 ERA with 607 strikeouts in 373.1 innings for an impressive 14.6 punchouts per nine innings average.
The Mets still need to upgrade their bullpen after seemingly abandoning their search to fill their other pressing void — an every-day center fielder.
Signing Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha could see one of those arms flexed to the bullpen, but that doesn’t do much to add a proven arm to the relief corps.
Seth Lugo — a converted starter — and Justin Wilson appear to be their most reliable bullpen arms as closer Edwin Diaz is coming off a disastrous first season in Queens while Jeurys Familia’s return to the Mets didn’t go much better.
The Mets retained Brad Brach on a cheap deal while Robert Gsellman figures to stay in the bullpen, too. But these moves are doing little to instill much confidence in the late innings for 2020.
A healthy Betances would supply the Mets with a bona fide fireballer to be a set-up man for either Diaz or — possibly — even Lugo.
The price should be right up the Mets’ alley, too, as Heyman reported that Betances is looking for a one-year deal worth $10 million. There also might be some extra money to spend after amending the final year of Yoenis Cespedes’ contract. At least, it seems that way.
So it’s puzzling as to why the Mets’ chances of Betances went from likely, according to YES Network’s Jack Curry on Monday night, to unlikely on Tuesday morning.
To add insult to Mets fans’ injuries, the favorite for Betances now will continue to be the Philadelphia Phillies, who came away with Joe Girardi before signing former Met, Zack Wheeler.
It will only continue the trend of the Mets’ divisional rivals getting better while they remain stuck in neutral.