One of the easily distinguishable characteristics of a bully is their lack of humility. Yankees President Randy Levine has succeeded in bullying one of the team’s brightest young stars.
Throughout the week, the Yankees and Dellin Betances were in dispute over the reliever’s 2017 salary. On Saturday, arbiters ruled in the team’s favor and ordered that Betances be paid $3,000,000 this upcoming season, saving the Bombers two million.
After the Yankees had already won the hearing, Levine was not afraid to hold back on Betances and his agents. He exclaimed, “Dellin Betances is not an elite closer (but)… he was still asking to be paid like one.” Betances converted on just 12 of 17 save opportunities in 2016, a 70% success clip that pales in comparison to Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman’s 89% career mark. The brash exec also pointed to Betances’ poor ability to hold runners on- 27 runners attempted to steal off of him in 2016, and all 27 succeeded. His ability, or lack thereof, to throw to the bases is known by many a Yankee fan.
While Levine may have some solid points of contention, it is not his place to criticize a player on the team, especially in public. For a Yankee squad usually so devoid of scandal (this was just their second arbitration hearing of the century), this was a rare mishap.
Betances was very shocked by the comments, as imagined. When asked about the situation, he responded seriously, “When free agency comes around, the decision just became a little easier.”
Betances possesses great talent, but that is not the most important aspect to his marketability as a Yankee. Betances is a native New Yorker, born in Staten Island and raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He can be seen on numerous billboards across the city, and serves as a role model for many of the city’s aspiring young ballplayers.
Betances is also one of the most exciting late-inning pitchers in the game. Standing at 6’ 8” tall, he possesses a fastball that can reach into the triple digits and a knee-buckling knuckle curveball. He has been named to the American League All-Star squad in three consecutive seasons, striking out a trio of National League sluggers in this year’s Midsummer Classic.
Only two New York-born players, Whitey Ford and Lou Gehrig, have played in multiple All-Star Games representing the Yankees in the modern era. Randy Levine’s bully tactics have likely cost the Yankees a unique, generational talent.