Dellin Betances handed off a boxed football to a young boy and then struck a happy pose with him. The Great Hall at Yankee Stadium was filled with a December chill Friday -- but it also was filled with holiday warmth as the gentle giant of a reliever gave out gifts to local children.
"For me, it's about putting smiles on these kids' faces, especially for the community here in the Bronx," Betances said at the Yankees' Bronx Winter Wonderland gathering.
The community lost its closer earlier this week when David Robertson also received an early holiday gift, agreeing to a four-year, $46-million deal with the White Sox. So the Yankees need a replacement.
Betances became an All-Star as a dominating rookie setup man last season, but he didn't launch a "Betances 2015'' campaign for the job at this event. That isn't his way. The 6-8 righthander and native son of the city is happy to assume any role he's given.
"I'll come in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth," he said. "Whatever they want me to do, I just want to win."
Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi were noncommittal about the new closer's ID at the winter meetings. It could be Betances, 6-7 lefty Andrew Miller, a time-share of some sort or an acquisition to be named.
If he gets the role, Betances said, "I think I'll just try to treat everything the same."
He sees a strong bullpen no matter the roles. "I believe in the guys we have down there, especially getting Miller, a guy that's a high-strikeout guy, gets both lefties and righties out," Betances said. "And we still have [Adam] Warren, [Shawn] Kelley, a bunch of guys down there that will help us out as well."