Houston Astros catcher Brian McCann is no longer in charge of directing Dellin Betances’ pitch selection in late inning situations, but the ex-Yankee slugger still holds his former teammate in high regard.
Veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran shares similar feelings on the 28-year-old reliever.
“Betances would do whatever it takes to help the team win,” Beltran said. “I saw him over the years sometimes when he had like a stiff arm and a lot of guys would have just said, ‘You know what, my arm is stiff, I’m not going to put myself out there today,’ but Dellin was always willing to put his health on the line for the team — to try and win a game. As a teammate, I really appreciate that.’’
According to Kernan, the two former New Yorkers believe Betances will rise to the occasion in 2017, despite the hard feelings he expressed on Saturday in response to Yankees president Randy Levine’s objectionable comments following the pitcher’s arbitration period. Betances, who asked for $5 million, lost his arbitration hearing, and will be paid $3 million this upcoming season.
Betances learned how dirty the arbitration process really is for players — especially for middle relievers, who appear to hold little value in the perspective of his employer. The Yankees griped over a $2 million difference, and according to McCann, Betances is worth every dime he requested.
“That’s just not right,’’ McCann told Kernan in response to Betances’ arbitration hearing.
As an American League All-Star in each of his last three seasons, Betances thrived in crunch time. In 247 innings, he struck out 392 hitters, averaging a 1.92 ERA during the span. But his saves total sits at just 22, which in essence, cost Betances his case. Reality suggests that closers, who make the final outs and collect saves, deserve the big bucks, and not bridge arms, like Betances.
“Dellin is a super great guy so he is going to be fine,’’ Beltran said. “I talked to him [Saturday], just to encourage him. I told him that I was part of that process also in my career. It got me to understand a lot of things in baseball, it’s a business, but at the end of the day, the organization is not going to wish him wrong. They want him to be as good and they have to wish him well because he is so valuable to that ballclub.
“The process is tough because you hear so many negative things about you and you start asking yourself, ‘Man, these people are on my side?’ It’s good that you go through it early in your career, though, so you understand it more.
“We all have pride and Dellin will do what he has to do because of that pride. He will rise above. He will get his work done and do it no matter what. He is so humble and so down to earth even though he is one of the best relievers in the game. He makes people feel so comfortable around him. He’s a smart kid, he knows what gives him success and will strengthen his routine every year. He has the right mentality because he always wants to get better. He’s going to be great, he’s going to do a great job for the Yankees.’’