February 14 is one of the dates Yankees fans have had circled on their calendars for months; pitchers and catchers have finally reported.
While a lot of Yankees players actually arrived prior to Tuesday, the rest of the pitchers and catchers have reported to Tampa — except for one.
Yankees all-star Dellin Betances has been excused by the club from reporting to spring workouts until their arbitration case is settled.
The 28-year-old reliever is entering his first year as an arbitration eligible player. Betances originally filed for $5 million but the Yankees filed for $3 million.
Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, declined comment, but Brian Cashman confirmed Betances’ stance. The two sides are set to go to arbitration this Friday, February 17, in St. Petersburg, Fl.
Heading into the hearing, both sides will present their cases supporting their proposed salaries. For Betances, it shouldn’t be too difficult as he has been dominant as a late-inning setup man before taking over the closer duties late last season.
Last year at the deadline, the Yankees felt comfortable selling their two all-star closers, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, in order to rebuild their farm system. The move was partially made possible because the Yankees knew they still had one of the best relief pitchers in baseball to slot-in as their closer moving forward.
On the other side, the Yankees will present any and all reasons why Betances does not deserve the additional $2 million. This is where it could get a little dicey between the two sides.
As previously reported by Brendan Kuty of NJ.com, in his first press conference of the season on Tuesday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi spoke about the ongoing situation as he hopes this salary stalemate will not hurt the relationship the Yankees have with Betances.
“If I feel that it does affect him, I will talk to him,” Girardi said. “Obviously this is the part of the game that somewhat becomes public and sometimes can be frustrating for both sides. You have to be able to move on. When you sign up for this game, it becomes not only a game that you love and you fight and do everything you can to win, but it’s also a business and you have to balance that.
“Once he gets through his arbitration case, we’re going to have to put that business behind and move on and focus on the game. Sometimes it takes players a little bit of time. Sometimes there can be hard feelings but that’s something we’ll have to deal with.”
Since entering the Yankees bullpen full time in 2014, Betances has posted a 14-10 record to accompany a 1.93 ERA with 392 strikeouts in 247 innings.
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