Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but it appears the Dodgers have added another pitcher recovering from surgery who might help them later in the season. Dellin Betances has signed a minor league contract with the team, per multiple reports.
Betances will receive a $2.75 million salary if he makes the majors with up to $500,000 in incentives, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
The last three seasons have been a rough chore for Betances, limited to just 17 relief appearances in total. The right-hander missed over five months in 2019 with a right shoulder impingement, then tore his achilles tendon after just one game back. Betances spent time on the injured list with a lat strain in 2020, then last year had another shoulder impingement that required surgery in July, ending his 2021 season.
When healthy, Betances was dominant with the Yankees, making four All-Star teams in a five-year span as a reliever but never the primary closer. From 2014-18, Betances ranked sixth in the majors in ERA (2.22), fourth in FIP (2.26), and third in strikeout rate (40.3 percent), the latter behind only Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel.
In Betances’ career, which dates back to 2011, opponents hit just .173/.281/.260 against him.
At his peak, Betances combined a blazing four-seam fastball, averaging 97.8 mph from 2014-18, with a devastating curveball. But since the start of 2019, with all the injuries limiting him to just 13⅓ major league innings, his average fastball was down to 93.4 mph.
Betances is now 34 years old, and he joins 33-year-old Danny Duffy, 32-year-olds Jimmy Nelson and Tommy Kahnle, plus homegrown arms in 24-year-old Dustin May and 25-year-old Caleb Ferguson, as pitchers recovering from major surgery who could help the Dodgers at some point in 2022. The nature of the sport is such that it’s unreasonable to expect all of them to perform well, or even at all.
But by taking enough chances, there’s bound to be some production from that group, especially given the talent.