The Dodgers are signing reliever Dellin Betances to a minor league contract, reports Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic (Twitter link). He’d lock in a $2.75MM base salary if he makes the major league roster, with an additional $500K available in incentives, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter).
Betances is coming off a difficult three-year stretch. He made just one appearance in 2019, his final season with the Yankees, on account of successive shoulder and Achilles injuries. Despite the lost season, the Mets signed him to a two-year deal the following winter. That proved an ill-fated investment, as Betances threw 11 2/3 innings of ten-run ball during his first season in Queens. The big right-hander made just one appearance last year before landing back on the shelf due to another shoulder issue. He underwent season-ending surgery in June.
That one outing wasn’t sufficient to vest a 2022 player option in Betances’ deal with the Mets, and he hit free agency at the end of the season. He’ll have to earn his way back to the majors, but it’s easy to understand why the Dodgers would take a risk-free dice roll to gauge his current form. At his best, Betances was one of the sport’s best late-inning weapons. Over a five-year stretch between 2014-18, he tossed no fewer than 59 2/3 innings per season and never allowed more than 3.08 earned runs per nine innings. He routinely fanned around 40% of opposing hitters during that run.
Betances sat north of 97 MPH on his heater at peak. During his lone appearance with the Mets last season, he averaged just 91.6 MPH. Clearly, the series of health woes had taken their toll on the 34-year-old, but he’ll try to recapture some of his peak form with a reset in a new organization. The Dodgers have taken a few shots on injured but talented arms in the bullpen mix, signing Tommy Kahnle, Danny Duffy and Jimmy Nelson in recent offseasons as well.