Dellin Betances Arbitration Reaction
The writings on the wall.
Dellin Betances will leave the historic New York Yankees franchise when he becomes a free agent after the 2019 season. Possibly sooner if the Yankees decide to take the Chapman-Miller route and flip the highly valued asset before his arbitration eligible years end.
Losing his hearing means Betances will receive $3m as opposed to $5m, sought by him and his representatives at Excel Sports Management.
This morning’s release of the monetary details surrounding the case wasn’t the thing that stuck with me. Yankees president Randy Levine taking shots at one of the best pure talents in this great game is what did.
(Bryan Hoch has been covering the Yankees since 2007)
My point is simple. If you don’t think Betances is in the slightest bit worthy of $5m, you’re lacking fundamental analysis skills in a game that has evolved into statistics as much as it has evolved with them. It’s a necessity to succeed in today’s game. I accept the market we have in place with arbitration. It’s like a sunk cost, and likely a flawed system, that we will have to deal with until reform is inevitably accepted by the decision makers across the MLB. I’m not tarnishing the monetary side of the game where compensation increases are tied more to seniority than success early in one’s career. If we paid each rookie who blows up on the scene to his perceived true talent level – think Craig Kimbrel early career success – we’ll create even more problems than we currently have. MLB Trade Rumors made a great model that projected out all the 2017 arbitration cases, and it predicted Betances would get $3.4 million, $400k less than we now know he received. It’s really not that far off, but again, that’s not the issue.
To be so naive as to call out one of the best pitchers in all of baseball for desiring more for his supreme performance in some of the highest leverage moments in a game, takes a kind of gall that not many people have. That is the issue on hand. It’s disturbing that Levine’s logic in this situation, which has such a heavy influence on how much money goes into the wallets of guys who have been through hell and back for their shot at glory, is perplexingly off.
Yeah I guess he really doesn’t…
When we string together the names Andrew Miller, Zach Britton, and Kenley Jansen together in a sentence years from now, Dellin Betances must be included as well. The last two stats on the chart above speak to Levine’s point about not having the ‘saves’ to propel forward his $5m case. WPA+ is a metric known as win probability added (specifically, just the net positive results in this case). Win probability is an aggregated metric that piles up every batter a pitcher faces based on win expectancy at that given moment in time. If it’s the bottom of the ninth inning, two outs, with the bases loaded and Betances strikes out a batter to close out the game, he’ll get a greater positive value towards his overall WPA than a ground out with nobody on in the second inning (WPA is the sum of WPA+ and WPA-). This high of a WPA+ (30.72) implies that Betances was both given the opportunity to succeed in impact spots during games, and converted to produce the highest positive value of this metric in baseball over the last three seasons. WPA/LI, which adds in leverage index, seeks to standardize the situations players are in, making them context neutral. Betances is third in all of baseball over the last three years, another testament to his use and elite success.
It’s been an amazing few years watching Betances. While I’m sure many had dreams of seeing him in pinstripes for the entirety of his career, I think that is a longshot as disagreement with management over his talent level, compensation, respect, and value all seem to be up in the air.
Photo via the Flickr creative commons, thanks to our friend AP3 for the shot of Betances.
Twitter pictures all taken from user’s respective accounts.
Statistics from Fangraphs.com.
Information from Twitter.com.