The New York Mets made a statement on Christmas Eve with the signing of former New York Yankees All-Star reliever Dellin Betances.
The inner-city rivalry between the New York Mets and New York Yankees has featured a variety of players that have helped shape either club’s situation. Names such as David Cone, Darryl Strawberry, and Dwight Gooden famously left Queens for more success in the Bronx, famously during the mid-1990s, further fueling the newspaper back page battle.
The latest character in this never-ending war is relief pitcher Dellin Betances who made the switch official on Christmas Eve. The hard-throwing right-hander signed with the Mets during the holidays and was announced sporting a festive team look in front of a Christmas tree. The 6–8, 265-pounder is wearing facial hair now seemingly to rebel again at the Yankees standard clean shave and welcome in a new era in Mets relief pitching.
Since 2014, Betances leads all major league relievers with 609 strikeouts over 374 innings. The multiple-time All-Star suffered through inconsistent play and injuries in his last two seasons in pinstripes. The latest an Achilles injury cost him a majority of 2019 as the Yankees advanced to the ALCS without his presence.
The rough ending to his Yankees tenure made Betances expendable, and the Mets were more than willing to play ball. Betances’s contract guarantees him $10.5 million with a $6 million player option for 2021 that also includes a $3 million buyout. A definite prove-it season for the relief pitcher who will be in the discussion for the Mets closer role along with a hist of other names.
"“I love New York,” said Betances in a statement released by the Mets. “I grew up in Manhattan. Went to high school in Brooklyn. Played minor league ball in Staten Island. Made it to the big leagues in the Bronx. Now, I’m excited to go win a World Series with the Mets in Queens. Thanks to Fred and Jeff, Brodie, and all the other Mets staff who worked so hard to make possible this next step in my New York journey. Merry ChristMets! Let’s Go METS!”"
The Mets will look to rebuild the bullpen with Betances serving as a key piece to work around. New Mets manager Carlos Beltran was a teammate of Betances and understands what he will need from him more than most moving forward this season.