Tuesday, February 21, 2017


(April 25, 2014 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)
Dear Dellin,

You're our setup man. One of the best and you're getting paid like you should be, but you're no closer.

Maybe someday, somewhere, sure. But not yet, not here and not for the remainder of your rookie contract. We've got Aroldis for that, and you're no Aroldis. Or Miller. Or Mo.

Your record in that role is mixed at best. Remember that stretch run last year when you ran out of gas? Sure, you can turn it around, but it's not happening right now. 

So now you've missed the start of spring  training because you chose to play a long shot in the Arbitration Derby on the advice of your agent, and soon you'll be missing even more time at the World Baseball Classic playing for the Dominican Republic  -- a team packing three current MLB closers, so you won't be doing much closing there either. But you'll probably be doing a lot of hard throwing to set those guys up. Trust me, we'll need that this fall too. 

Remember those seven long years in the minors we waited for you while you struggled as a starter with your control, injuries and setbacks? Seven years on the farm is a long time. Another organization might have given up on you. I'd wager almost any other organization would have. Fortunately for all of us, they didn't and we found a role you could excel in. Have you forgotten? I haven't.

I'm very sorry you didn't become the starter we all wanted you to be. I'm also sorry you didn't like what you heard about your value as a closer in the arbitration hearing, Dellin.  Many players' agents advise their clients not to attend for that reason. Business is business, and it was you and your agent who together chose to make a test case out of the process. He should have advised you it wouldn't be pretty. Your agent was clearly remiss in preparing you for it, as well as for the aftermath when the media baited you into your emotional response of implying you may no longer answer the call to the pen before the 8th inning.

(April 27, 2013 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)    
Don't forget, Mo went through the exact same arbitration process you did more than once and he came out the other side as both a winner and a loser -- and his reaction was the same regardless of the outcome and his true personal feelings; happy to make what he makes doing what he loves and looking forward to getting ready for the season. Sure it's cliche, but it's the smart mature answer. It closes the conversation and ends it. That's what closers do.

Why vent to the media? That's what your family and agent are for. You had nothing to gain by doing so except perhaps lashing out for instant gratification, and now you've thrown gas on a fire and thrown suspicion on yourself every time you're called on to come into a game before the 8th inning -- and every time you're not.  

Each time you're available before the 8th now and Joe doesn't call on you, the media will want to know why and your commitment will be questioned. Each time you do come out before the 8th and fail, your level of effort will be put under a microscope.  Joe and Larry Rothschild will be regularly grilled about whether you declined to warm up early, and when you do come in early, they'll be asked  if you said or did anything to indicate you were unhappy about being asked. 

Congratulations. You're now officially a team distraction. By telling the world you didn't have the stomach for the process and lashing out with what we can only hope is an idle threat of withholding your best effort, you unzipped your fly and told everyone why you weren't ready to be the Yankees closer.  

It's my opinion that you need to apologize and take back what you said about limiting your role and effort. About holding it against the team when you become a free agent. All of it.  Otherwise, the media that's on your side today will make you a bigger pinata than Alex Rodriguez, just for sport once the games begin and it won't stop. Guaranteed. And you're obviously not built to take that kind of brutality like he was.

When you spoke with Carlos Beltran on Saturday he told you: "I was part of that process also in my career. It got me to understand a lot of things in baseball, it’s a business, but at the end of the day, the organization is not going to wish him wrong. They want him to be as good and they have to wish him well because he is so valuable to that ball club. The process is tough because you hear so many negative things about you and you start asking yourself, ‘Man, these people are on my side?’ It’s good that you go through it early in your career, though, so you understand it more.’’

Listen to Carlos, Dellin. Randy Levine was just doing his job, both during the hearing and afterward when he made himself available to the press to answer questions and explain the team's side of the first arbitration hearing the team's been forced into in nine years -- by you and your agent.  He didn't burn you at all and he didn't even really burn your agent either except to explain why he never had a chance and why the hearing was basically a waste of everyone's time. Which is true under the current formula. 

(July 11, 2016 - Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America)
So here's a piece of advice from a true fan and someone that understands the process; Suck it up and start earning that record-breaking new salary you're making by doing a mea culpa and take the next step toward being one of the leaders of our  next dynasty just like Hal, Brian, Joe and yes, even Randy have hoped and planned you would be.

And if you feel you absolutely must limit your innings this season, you can always tell Team Dominican you're a New York City native whose first allegiance is to a team in the Bronx. 

My opinion...but do what you want.

Yours truly,

 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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