Dellin Betances isn’t going to see much action with the Yankees over the final couple weeks of the regular season. And when he is called on to pitch it will likely be in low-pressure relief situations. But he was officially promoted to the major leagues on Saturday and is ecstatic to be wearing pinstripes.
The 23-year-old right-hander told Chad Jennings of The Journal News this afternoon that he shared a 10-minute game of catch with his older brother in front of their New Jersey childhood home when he first got word that he was being promoted.
“Just 10 minutes,” Dellin said. “Just regular catch, and then he squatted down for a little flat ground. After that, just showered and got ready to come here. … I grew up in New York. Born in New York and raised, and being a Yankee fan to now coming here and wearing the uniform is a great, great feeling. … When they called my name I didn’t believe it, and I still can’t believe I’m here. Maybe when I go out on the field it will hit me.”
The 6-foot-8 Betances posted a 3.70 ERA and struck out 142 batters in 126 1/3 innings this season between Double-A and Triple-A. Baseball America ranked him 43rd in their Top 100 prospect rankings last winter.
Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?
Now, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Fighters are set to post Shotei Otani following the 2017 season. Passan says that his sources have told him that there are potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Shohei Otani and he links a Japanese article from Sponichi which says the Fighters would post him after the 2017 season.
It’d be interesting to see what that loophole is. Without knowing the exact terms of the CBA on this score it’s impossible to know, but one possibility is that there are different rules applicable to those with professional experience in other countries as opposed to amateur free agents.
Whatever the case, the notion that we could see Otani in the U.S. at age 23 or 24 is pretty exciting.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.