With New York Yankees closer David Robertson hitting free agency for the first time in his career, the club is uncertain about his return to the Bronx. The next arm in line for the role, if Robertson were to depart, would be right-hander Dellin Betances.
In his first full season in the bigs, Betances earned an All-Star appearance during a season where he totaled 90 innings-pitched. Along the way he posted a 1.40 earned run average, .79 WHIP, and struck out 135 batters.
Reports have it that Robertson is asking for “Jonathan Papelbon” money — a multi-year deal worth in the realm of $50 million. The Yankees have yet to jump at the opportunity to re-sign him because the club is loaded with bullpen arms, headlined by Betances who just may be the next closer in waiting.
Former Yankee and Met Dwight Gooden believes so. Friday morning, while signing autographs along with Betances, Gooden chimed in with his thoughts about the player and situation.
“I think he can do it,” the 50-year-old Gooden said. “He’s unproven, but with the stuff he has … Going from a set-up guy to a closer, even though it’s an inning, it’s a big difference. It’s just that moment. More of it is mental than physical. He definitely has the stuff to do it. But does he have the mental aspect? I think so. I’ve talked to him a little bit. I think he can do it if Robertson were to leave.
“He’s always the same guy,” Gooden said, “an even-keeled guy. That’s what you want in the back end of the pitching staff. It takes a different mentality to close games in New York.”
(Brendan Kuty, NJ.com)
There is no doubt that Betances has the goods as he exhibited his swing-and-miss stuff during last season. But the challenge of locking down the ninth-inning and being the club’s safety net does ask for a different mentality.
The Yankees are not in a desperate situation in which they need a closer in case Robertson leaves because they have Betances as insurance. There have been rumblings amongst fans about whether or not Betances may even be the better option.