Dodgers: Dellin Betances could be a low-risk high-reward move for LA

The Dodgers’ off-season should include at least one reliever to bolster their bullpen. Dellin Betances could be one reliever who transforms LA’s bullpen.

Despite signing Joe Kelly to a lucrative three year $25 million dollar deal last off-season, the Dodgers’ bullpen has plenty of questions heading into the hot stove season.  Not only did Kelly have plenty of ups and downs during his first season in LA, his postseason ended by giving up the series losing grand slam to Howie Kendrick in game five of the NLDS.

The top reliever on the free-agent market was Will Smith but he declined the qualifying offer and quickly signed with the Atlanta Braves.  Now that Smith is off the board the Dodgers have two potential options in Drew Pomeranz and Dellin Betances.  Pomeranz has a much shorter track record of success as Jack Dorfman warned, but Betances has a much longer history of success.

While Dellin Betances may have been the top reliever in free agency if he had stayed healthy, his 2019 season was doomed after 2/3 of an inning pitched due to a partially torn Achilles tendon.  Betances also battled through shoulder injuries this past season but is going to be ready for spring training and fully recovered from his Achilles injury.

Due to his injuries, it is very unlikely that Dellin lands anything more than a two-year deal.  The New York Post predicted that the Dodgers would sign Dellin Betances to a two-year deal worth $20 million dollars. That price may be a bit steep but a similar deal worth 16-18 million is certainly a possibility depending on his market.

The Dodgers essentially gambled on a handful of postseason innings that Joe Kelly put together and handed him eight million dollars a year.  Betances for eight to ten million dollars a year has a much better chance of panning out.  The only question he will come with is health, if he proves to be healthy he would bolster the late innings of a suddenly weak Dodger bullpen.

Lifetime, Dellin Betances has an ERA of 2.36 and his opponent’s average is a stellar .170.  From 2016 through the 2018 season, Betances has averaged over 15 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.  He averages 97 MPH on his fastball and throws a hard curveball that spins in around the mid-’80s.

Dellin is a two-pitch pitcher who served as one of the Yankees’ setup men over the last few seasons.  If he signed with the Dodgers he could demote Joe Kelly to the seventh inning and set up Kenley Jansen.  In the event that Jansen struggles again in 2020, Betances has the firepower needed to step into the closer role and keep the bullpen strong.

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Andrew Friedman has already said that Julio Urias is going to start in 2020 so that removes one of the best relievers from the 2019 bullpen.  The Dodgers need to make at least one reliever signing and Dellin Betances has the most upside of anyone on the free-agent market and he is going to come at a bargain rate due to his injury-plagued 2019 season.