The New York Mets have two highly paid relievers in Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia who have each endured their fair share of criticism from Mets fans due to their performances out of the bullpen. While both pitchers seem to be locked in for the Opening Day bullpen, it should not come as a surprise should either continue to stumble this season, that the Mets would cut ties at some point in 2021.
While Familia has still displayed elite velocity for a reliever this spring, he continues to struggle with his command and getting ahead in the count. Familia is scheduled to make $11.7 million in his final season under contract with the Mets, and he is certainly going to be given a longer leash this summer than most struggling pitchers normally would.
If the 31-year old Familia is going to make it through the rest of the season with the Mets and become a vital piece of the bullpen he certainly is going to have to get his control in order as he’s walked a little over 15% of the batters he has faced over the last two seasons combined. FanGraphs Steamer predicts Familia to walk almost 12% of the batters he’ll face this season, which would be completely unacceptable. If Familia has a walk rate anywhere close to that number this upcoming season, you can expect Familia to be pitching in mop-up duty or possibly another uniform.
Both Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia will need good showings early on this season to avoid being designated for assignment by the Mets.
Betances on the other hand could be the first in line of the two pitchers to be released by the Mets should his continued struggles persist early into the regular season. Betances is under contract for $6.8 million this season with a potential player vesting option for 2022, but for the most part, Betances has resembled a shell of his former self over the last year with the Mets.
After posting a 7.71 ERA last season with diminished velocity, as well as missing the entire month of September with a lat injury, there may not be a player whose seat is warmer on the Mets roster than Betances. It’s also fair to wonder if Betances makes it out of Spring Training with the Mets as his continued struggles with fluctuating velocity have hindered him this month.
While FanGraphs steamer prediction for the 33-year old Betances is a bit generous by forecasting a 3.81 ERA across 58 innings, it also has Betances putting up his lowest strikeout rate per nine innings, outside of 2020, at 10.64. It’s also fair to highlight that FanGraphs Steamer predicts Betances to give up one home run per nine innings which would be his highest rate since 2013.
With all of that being said, it’s a very strong possibility that one or both of these players are pitching in another uniform other than the Mets at some point in 2021, with Betances being the most likely to go first. It’s also important not to forget that the Mets contain a plethora of solid right-handed arms on the 40-man roster which could play a factor in both players’ futures, depending on their effectiveness this season.
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But for the Mets’ sake, I truly hope both players are able to right the ship this season, as this franchise is built for an October run in 2021. The Mets will be that much better with both Familia and Betances putting it all together this season.