As you may know, the Yankees and their setup man Dellin Betances were involved in a harsh dispute about the 2017 salary of Betances. Betances was asking $5 million, while the Yankees did not want to spend more than $3 million. During the past weeks, both parties did not get closer to each other. So an arbitration hearing was needed.
The outcome of the arbitration hearing was that the Yankees don’t have to pay Betances $5 million but only the $3 million they wanted. Nothing wrong with that. It is a part of the business. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Setup men, even though they are elite, are simply rewarded less than star closers. And while Betances was lights out as a setup man, he struggled as a closer after the Yankees got rid of Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller.
But there is something that is wrong about this case. Yankees President, Randy Levine, thought it was necessary to call for a press conference in which he could trash Betances and his agent. Levine called the agents’ strategy “half-baked,” pointing out the $3 million figure was still the highest ever for a setup man in his first year of arbitration while taking shots at the $5 million attempt.
Levine pointed out that the Yankees love and respect Betances as a person and player, but that the figure would have changed “30-to-40 years” of precedent of paying setup men differently than closers.
Levine also called Betances’ number “over the top” and “not based on reality.” But he made clear he felt Betances was a victim of his own agents’ exuberance. And when asked whether he might need to talk further to Betances, Levine said Betances should talk to his agent about what happened.
If the Yankees really love and respect Betances, like Levine said, perhaps he should have used his right name during the hearings. Instead of Dellin, Levine used Dylan….
As written above, baseball is a business in which you win and you lose. In this case, Betances lost his arbitration hearing. But with the comments made by Randy Levine, a lot of bad blood may have been created. In the long run, the Yankees may be the loser thanks to Levine’s comments.
Don’t be surprised if Betances will ask for a trade. I would if I would have been desecrated like this.