You have probably heard of or even know someone who once possessed 100 scratch-off lottery tickets in their hands. It’s gambling in its simplest form. Rather than take $100 and invest it in anything else, this person has a chance to earn even more. It’s a gamble that is likely to fail. After finally cashing in a winning $5 lottery ticket I got at Christmas, it had me thinking about the biggest failed gamble on the New York Mets right now.
There’s no competition in my mind. When the Mets signed Dellin Betances around Christmas 2019, they were taking a chance on a guy coming off of a serious injury. Multiple All-Star appearances intrigued Brodie Van Wagenen enough to sign the big righty reliever.
Sadly, like many of his decisions, this one hasn’t worked out well for the orange and blue.
Mets gambled on Dellin Betances and are now sunk in the red
It’s silly to have a “never sign injured players” policy when it comes to free agency. Often, guys falling into this category heal completely and have a renaissance with the new ball club.
More often, however, those injuries are too great to come back from fully. Add in Betances’ age, height, and weight and we see a guy whose recovery from an Achilles ailment looks much harder.
By no means can we really criticize the front office for this decision. Last year was Betances’ age 32 season. This isn’t exactly old for a relief pitcher. At the price of $7.5 million last year, another $6 million in 2021, and a player option for 2022 listed at only $1 million, it’s hard to let him sign anywhere else.
Sadly, Betances was bad when healthy in 2020. He hasn’t looked any better this spring and he’s losing velocity on his fastball. When they begin to lose gas on that pitch it’s pretty much over.
The most amazing thing about this failed addition to the list of Mets alumni is how little it actually hurts the team payroll. His pro-rated salary last year was a fraction of what the organization paid Jed Lowrie to do absolutely nothing for them in 2019. Betances earns even less this season and in a worst-case scenario, the club ends up paying him $1 million to go away next winter.
All-in-all, things might not work out with Betances. Fortunately, the fans are the ones who suffer most.
It’s a good thing the Mets didn’t overpay Betances by a grand amount. When this happens, front offices can get skittish on making future deals.
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The new front office crew is getting comfortable now and will surely have their share of misses in the next few years. I do hope they take gambles on guys in the same situation Betances was in when he hit free agency. Not all of the best signings are obvious. Sometimes, you do need to swing and miss. Right now, the Betances deal is a whiff with plenty of doubts heading into 2021 that we’ll make contact.