Didi and Dellin Part 2: The Future is (Almost) Here

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.

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3 Comments

  1. Larry Mofield

    I think that Betances is a better option than Ottavino and has earned the same if not better contract offer than Ottavino and Britton.
    My goodness CC was garbage the last couple of years before they gave him last year’s contract.
    Ottavino was terrible down the stretch and in the playoffs .Betances has a proven track record.
    As for Didi , I like his bat better than Luke Voit and Voit’s crazy workouts make him a possible injury problem.
    Give Didi a 2 year with a vesting option of a third year .
    His swing is stadium made and this is also time to extend DJ for another year with a team option 2nd year.
    Our minors are not screaming star position players on the way.
    Other than trading our farm system has only produced a couple of good drafted players in recent years.

  2. Wire Fan

    Not sure I see the fit with Dellin given the Yankees budget ”constraints”. I could see maybe adding a lower cost depth reliever, but Dellin is going to get paid.

    They have 5 really good relievers (Chapman, Britton, Ottavino, Kahnle, Green). They also have guys like Loaisiga, Heller, Cessa, Holder as low leverage guys. And Adams,King, Nelson and others as additional depth.

    Didi might have a bounce back year, but history is not kind to 30+ year old SS’s. Assuming he is going to get at least a 3 year deal, there is a pretty good chance at least 1 or 2 of those years aren’t pretty.

    Spend the money on a quality starter, an OF (probably Gardy), and maybe BUC. If they fail on the starter, extend some guys and take the LT hit now for LT space later (Torres, Judge thru his arb years?, DJL? Paxton?)

  3. RetroRob

    I’m fine if the Yankees plan to take part of the approximately $28 million they paid Didi, Dellin and CC, and use that to help fund a significant portion of Cole’s yearly AAV, which is going to be somewhere in the $30-35 million range. It would be disappointing if they let Dellin and Didi leave and don’t reinvest the money elsewhere to upgrade the roster. They obviously also need to plan for arbitration increases for Judge, Sanchez, etc. who are about to become more expensive. The MLB salary cap exists, even if they like to call it something else.

    I was a bit surprised, but not shocked, that they didn’t offer Didi the QO. A one-year deal for Didi at $17.8 isn’t outrageous, although maybe they’re counting dollars to such a degree that they believe they can get him back at a lower price. Perhaps they’re letting the market set the price then they’ll decide to match it if it’s within reason. Does he return at 3/36? Seems light, but the market has become more difficult to read.

    Dellin’s situation is more complicated. The Braves snatching two relievers off the market likely drives up the market for Dellin’s services. Chris Martin on a 2/14 million deal? I really think will be a replay of the Mets signing Swarzak off one good year. In other words, bad deal for the Braves. Regardless, Dellin may very well be able to land a two, if not a three year deal now. If the Yankees were hoping to bring him back on an incentive-laded one year deal, that opportunity may now be lost.

    Maybe the Yankees do have an interest in both but only if their primary target — Cole — signs elsewhere. That’ll be a problem as history says Cole won’t sign into 2020. Didi and Dellin may have already signed by that point.

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