The foundation of the Mets’ 2020 bullpen will remain in place for ’21. Both Dellin Betances and Brad Brach have exercised their player options to return next season, the club announced on Sunday, giving the Mets a similar relief corps to the one they left behind in September.
Betances had a player option worth $6.8 million, thanks to an appearances incentive that tacked $800,000 onto the deal. The only uncertainty over Betances’ decision stemmed from the $3 million buyout on his option, which essentially meant that anything more than a one-year, $3.8 million contract in free agency would guarantee him more money. But Betances opted to avoid the uncertainty of the open market coming off a second consecutive injury-riddled season.
After missing nearly all of 2019 due to right shoulder issues and a partially torn left Achilles tendon, Betances struggled to regain his old upper-90s velocity in ’20. He hovered in the low- to mid-90s for much of the season before landing on the injured list with a right lat injury in late August. Betances did not return until the final weekend of the season, finishing with a 7.71 ERA in 15 appearances.
But Betances is still just 32 years old and not far removed from being one of the game’s top relievers. The New York native was a four-time All-Star with the Yankees from 2014-17, posting a 2.11 ERA with 492 strikeouts. From ’14-18, Betances struck out 607 batters — 120 more than any reliever over that stretch. He signed with the Mets after becoming a free agent last offseason.
Betances’ deal also includes an escalating 2022 player option that he can trigger if he appears in at least 50 games next season.
Kyle leads sports coverage and hosts the Concrete Jungle podcast. Have a lead or question? Send it to [email protected].