Back in August, I wrote about Didi Gregorius, Dellin Betances, and their future (or lack thereof?) in pinstripes:
“The immediate future portends great success for the Yankees. They’ve got a big division lead and they look unbeatable at times. The longer term future, though, is, as always, uncertain. It may not contain Didi and/or Dellin but I hope it does. Hopefully, I’m not alone in that.”
While it’s still relatively early in the offseason, that future is closer now than it was back on August 8th and we’re no clearer with regards to Didi and Dellin. We’ve heard very little or nothing about the Yankees’ interest in them. Also unchanged is my opinion: the Yankees should bring back both players.
The playoffs showed the need for Dellin Betances. While the Yankees’ bullpen (mostly) performed admirably in their playoff run after a spectacular regular season, it was clear that the pitchers were gassed by the end. Innings from Betances could’ve relieved them–pun very much intended–both in the regular season and the playoffs.
Didi’s season and playoffs are an incomplete picture, even if he had a relatively large number of games played and plate appearances. While it’s less so for position players, Tommy John Surgery is still a catastrophic thing to come back from and to judge Didi on this season and let him walk might be foolish. Despite a return to his lack of patience, he did flash his typical power from June through August.
With both players coming off such big injuries–a truly devastating year in Dellin’s case–there are risks in signing them. These injuries could truly turn the tides of their careers and send them down paths they didn’t expect to walk on this quickly. Perhaps I’m being a pollyanna here, but I think their talent outweighs those risks. When healthy, they’re two of the very best at their positions. Talent is only one part of the equation, though.
Fit. Both players fit the Yankees well and the best version of the team in 2020 includes them. They also likely fit the best version of the 2021 Yankees and with a work stoppage looming in 2022, the Yankees need to do their best to win and win now. Could they survive, even thrive, without either or both of these players? Yes and yes. But why take the risk? The last few months have made it pretty clear that both Didi and Dellin still belong in the Bronx.