The Los Angeles Dodgers, looking to deepen their pitching staff with low-risk, high-reward signings, have agreed to a minor league contract with four-time All-Star Dellin Betances, a source confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.
Betances, 34, can earn a prorated portion of a $2.75 million base salary if he reaches the major leagues, with an additional $500,000 in performance bonuses, according to the New York Post.
Betances was one of the sport’s most dominant relievers while with the New York Yankees from 2014 to 2018, posting a 2.22 ERA with 607 strikeouts in 373⅓ innings. But the 6-foot-8, 265-pound right-hander has made only 17 appearances over the past three years, and there’s no set timetable for his return to the major leagues.
Betances has been off a mound this offseason, but the Dodgers need a longer look to determine how far he is from tapping back into some of his prime form.
Betances spent the 5½ months of the 2019 season rehabbing a right shoulder impingement and a strained lat, then returned on Sept. 15 and tore his left Achilles tendon on his eighth pitch, ending his season for good. He then struggled through a 7.71 ERA in 11⅔ innings with the New York Mets during the COVID-shortened 2020 season and made only one major league appearance in 2021, opting for season-ending shoulder surgery at the end of June.
Betances joins a handful of rehabbing pitchers who might evolve into major contributors in the Dodgers’ bullpen later this season, including Danny Duffy and Dustin May, traditional starting pitchers who probably won’t be stretched out enough to reenter the rotation in 2022.
The Dodgers also employ Tommy Kahnle, who is nearing his return from Tommy John surgery, and have re-signed Jimmy Nelson, who will spend most of this season recovering from Tommy John surgery but could factor into the mix in 2023.