TAMPA, Fla. — Dellin Betances understands some Yankees fans’ frustration with their team’s offseason, borne from not signing Bryce Harper or the reliever’s close friend, Manny Machado.
But he said there still is a lot to be excited about.
“The fans might not [be] because obviously Machado and Harper are big names, but we added a lot of great players, so I think our team is a lot better,” Betances said Monday, mentioning starter James Paxton, relievers Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino and infielders DJ LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki. “This team is dangerous.”
Betances and Machado became friends while playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. No, Betances said, he does not know where Machado is leaning or if he’ll end up with the Yankees (who have not aggressively pursued him).
“We’re comfortable with the group we have here,” Betances said after reporting to camp (he was excused last week after the birth of his son, Dellin Jr., on Wednesday). “If he comes, obviously that’ll be a big add, but we have a great team here and we’ll see what happens. I wish him good luck and the rest of the guys who haven’t signed yet.”
Betances, who will turn 31 next month, has been with the Yankees since they drafted him in 2006 out of Brooklyn’s Grand Street Campus High School. He’s blossomed into one of the game’s top relievers — he has a 2.22 ERA with 607 strikeouts in 373 1⁄3 innings the last five years — and will be a free agent after this season.
Betances said his agent, Jim Murray, and general manager Brian Cashman have had “discussions” about an extension, but that isn’t his primary focus.
“I would love to play here in New York, but whenever there’s a decision to make, my agent will come to me with that,” Betances said. “But for now, my focus is on my baby at home and trying to help this team win a championship.”