The San Diego Padres have many needs this offseason but not the funds to sufficiently address all of them. With the New York Yankees flush with relievers, its worth a shot to see what they would want for right-handed reliever Dellin Betances.
As it stands, the Padres bullpen is pretty respectable, but it could be better. The Yankees have a bullpen that is arguably the best in baseball; one that has become very crowded.
Just take a look at this juggernaut of a ‘pen.
LHP — Aroldis Chapman, Chasen Shreve, Tommy Layne
RHP — Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, Tyler Clippard, Jonathan Holder
While this is a problem I can bet most organizations would love to have, I have to ask how in the world is incumbent manager Aaron Boone going to (fairly) give these guys enough innings?
Never mind the fact that the Yanks just signed reliever Wade Lablanc, a guy who could pitch in just about any other MLB bullpen, to a minor league deal.
I have to digress.
The Padres made a sneaky smart move acquiring Kazuhisa Makita, a relief pitcher from Japan who was hidden in the shadow of Shohei Ohtani. Recently, the San Diego Padres made another wise move by extending closer Brad Hand.
Betances became something of an enigma last season; at once showing signs of an elite reliever, other times a headcase who couldn’t find the strike zone.
Lets inspect the goods and see what we are working with. The following displays his American League/National League splits along with his career numbers with the Yankees.
With the Yankees- 314 IP/2.28 ERA/1.04 WHIP/3.5 K-BB/.526 OPS
Vs American League- 271 IP/2.39 ERA/1.07 WHIP/3.4 K-BB/.611 OPS
Vs National League- 43.1 IP/1.67 ERA/0.96 WHIP/4.3 K-BB/.505 OPS
Against the National League, Betances has been phenomenal, albeit in just 43.1 innings. And while we can’t glean much from his two games at Petco (11 batters, .871 OPS), can we get a bit closer looking at his numbers versus the NL West?
7.1 IP/1.13 ERA/0.89 WHIP/1 K-BB/.438 OPS
Not really. 7.1 innings pitched doesn’t tell us much of anything, but lets enjoy it for argument’s sake.
So who could the Padres throw at the Yankees?
Lets forget about the top prospects being part of this deal. It goes without saying that General Manager A.J. Preller won’t dangle the top prospects for a reliever who has shown a propensity to be rickety. Its more likely they’d offer up a player or three further down the farm pipeline.
What about the active roster?
Catcher Austin Hedges
First, it would be spectacularly stupid for the Padres to deal him. Second, the Yankees already have a great young backstop in Gary Sanchez.
First baseman Wil Myers
Nope. The Yankees love Greg Bird.
Starting Pitcher Clayton Richard
Why in the world would the Yankees want a pitcher who wouldn’t likely even make the opening day starting rotation? Besides, Richard could be considered the ace of the Padres staff in 2018. It would be inadvisable to weaken an already questionable pitching pool. Again, Preller knows better than that.
Center Fielder Manny Margot
The Yankees have concerns at center field. Aaron Hicks was decent in 2017 but has flaws in his game. Yet asking for a package built around Margot would be an exercise in injudiciousness.
The Yankees do need a guy at third, but the Padres don’t have much to offer at their hot corner -1.4 total WAR. Current starting third baseman Miguel Andujar alone nearly bests that with a 2017 1.3 WAR.
Another thing to consider is Betances has just one year of control remaining. As reported by Mark Feinsand via his Twitter account, the righty recently agreed to a $5.1 million dollar deal for 2018, avoiding arbitration.
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That might work in the Padres favor. The Yankees could end up losing him at the end of the season anyway. Should the Padres acquire him would they be interested in extending him? Could they possibly trade him to a contender at the deadline and get a better haul than they gave up?
You could speculate that Betances’ 2017 slide could be due to some discomfort with having to compete against the myriad of relievers for later innings.
How attached are the Yankees to Betances? During his arbitration period in 2017, Yankees President Andy Lavine pulled no punches in his assessment of Betances.
"“$5M goes to elite closers. Pitchers who pitch the 9th inn and have a lot of saves. Dellin didn’t have that record. He never did.”“It’s like me saying, I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut. I’m not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer.”"
That attitude, if it still rings true, could work in the Padres favor should they make an offer. Recognizing a player who isn’t the most popular with the front office might allow them to underpay.
Having a bullpen of Makita to Betances to Hand would instantly make the Padres’ one of the best in baseball. As we saw in the 2017 postseason, a bullpen can make or break a playoff team. The Padres have a nice core of young bats in their lineup, with more on the way. They could use an upgrade in starting pitching, but those kind of moves will take time and patience.
Given the otherworldly amount of reliever depth the Yankees possess, losing Betances would be a fairly soft blow to their pitching staff. The Padres should put forth the effort to create a deal for a guy who could end up getting lost in the shuffle of a reliever aristocracy anyway.