Dellin Betances got some news that is both good and bad for him this week when Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters that the former Grand Street Campus pitcher has been given another minor league option by MLB.
A minor league option is necessary for teams to send young players down if they are on the 40-man roster. If a player is out of option, he must be either in the majors or released to become a free agent. Until this week, everyone, including the Yankees, thought that Betances was out of options so that if he didn’t make the Yankees active roster out of spring training in 2014 they would have had to release him.
This is mostly good news for the Yankees as they don’t have to make a decision on Betances in spring training. Instead they can bring him up later in the year or not at all. It’s also good news for him if he wants to stay with the only organization that he’s ever known and he doesn’t have to risk being a free agent as it’s not always easy to find a job when a pitcher has had the control problems Betances has had.
It’s bad though because it might just mean a longer wait for him to reach the majors and stay there. Betances, who is going to be 26-years-old next season, had a 2.68 ERA with a 11.6 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 84 innings mostly at Triple-A last year. A case could easily be made that he’s ready for The Show right now and this news could keep him in the minors for an extra year.
It really might not be a big issue though as the Yankees are not the typical powerhouse that fans are used to and they have lost a number of relievers this offseason including Mariano Rivera (retired) Boone Logan (signed with Colorado) and some other minor leaguers that were taken in the Rule 5 Draft this week. So it may end up that Betances gets a shot regardless of his option situation.
Betances was initially drafted by the Yankees in the 8th round in the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft. He was considered one of their best prospects for years and was ranked as high as the 43rd best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America in 2011. Control problems led to a 6.44 ERA in 2012 and raised serious questions about his ability.