The Dodgers lost out to the Yankees in the Gerrit Cole derby on Tuesday, when the ace chose New York’s offer over Los Angeles’ proposal. Now, the Dodgers are among the teams with their sights set on one of the Yankees’ longtime contributors, reliever Dellin Betances. They have “real interest” in the four-time All-Star right-hander, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times first reported the Dodgers were after Betances, but that was before they agreed to sign fellow righty reliever Blake Treinen to a one-year, $10MM guarantee Wednesday.
If you’re a Dodgers fan, the excitement of a Betances pursuit obviously falls well shy of a Cole signing. But that’s not a knock on the soon-to-be 32-year-old Betances, one of the most successful late-game hurlers in recent memory. Betances came into his own in 2014 and has since posted a tremendous 2.21 ERA/2.25 FIP with 14.66 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a 48.1 percent groundball rate. That type of production would be welcome anywhere, especially on an LA team whose bullpen had its share of issues in 2019.
During a half-decade run from 2014-18, no major league reliever amassed more innings than Betances’ 373 1/3. While durability has been one of the hallmarks of the hard-throwing Betances’ career, the 2019 season was a different story. Injuries to his shoulder and lat largely deprived Betances of the chance to put up an impressive platform campaign and further boost his stock heading to the market. Betances didn’t pitch until Sept. 15, and his season came to an abrupt end that day after he faced just two batters (both of whom he retired). He suffered a freak partial tear to his left Achilles while hopping off the mound in Toronto.
In the wake of his latest injury, it’s anyone’s guess whether Betances will return to form next season. However, with MLBTR projecting a one-year, $7MM payday, Betances would be an intriguing buy-low pickup for the Dodgers, who are already set to take a chance on a Treinen bounce-back effort.