Remember Christmas 2019? The upcoming year had so many possibilities. We’d eat at restaurants, talk too closely with our colleagues at the office, and see Dellin Betances rejuvenate his career with the New York Mets.
We couldn’t have been more wrong about everything in 2020.
In 2021, things have a chance to be different. The world is getting back to some normalcy. Not so normal is how Betances’ employer feels about him. Through the early part of the season, it’s clear how little the Mets trust their big right-handed reliever.
We can’t blame the Mets for having such little faith in Dellin Betances
Who the Mets do and do not trust became well-known in the first series of the season. When the game was on the line, Luis Rojas turned to guys like Miguel Castro, Aaron Loup, and Trevor May. In the lesser innings, when the club just needed some outs to get to the next phase, they want to Jacob Barnes, Jeurys Familia, and Betances.
Betances gave up a home run in his inning of work to start the 2021 season. This is going to happen. Even Jacob deGrom serves up a meatball once in a while.
Relegating Betances to mop-up duty early on isn’t a good outlook for what the organization sees in him. By the second game of the season, if they had any positive vibes, I would have expected him to pitch. Instead, the Mets saved him for his 2021 debut in their Wednesday loss to the Philadelphia Phillies where several of the New York pitchers got shelled.
What Dellin Betances must do to become trusted again
The mere fact that the Mets kept Betances around and didn’t just eat his money and wish him well on his way out of town does mean something. Are they just cheap? Do they have a glimmer of hope that maybe he can be a productive member of the bullpen?
Betances was a Brodie Van Wagenen signing so this current regime doesn’t need to see him turn into something special just to save face. They could, like many additions from the previous front office group, send him packing with a paycheck. Rather than do this and try to replace him with another question mark, the Mets have at least given Betances an opportunity to become a trusted member of this bullpen.
A trusted Mets reliever? There’s an oxymoron for your SATs.
Betances doesn’t need to be an All-Star-caliber reliever. He needs to get outs. He needs to give the Mets clean innings they so desperately require. The “trusted” arms in the bullpen right now have just as much to prove. A hot streak from Betances could quickly elevate him from bullpen nobody to the most important piece pitching ahead of Edwin Diaz.
I think everyone felt the Mets bullpen was the biggest problem with this roster heading into 2021. So far, nobody has grabbed those late innings by the horns and made us want to reconsider our pessimism.
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We’ll have to wait a little more for a full reading on Betances. For now, I think most fans would agree with Mets management. Tread lightly with him and hope better days lie ahead.