MLB union head says page turned on Levine spat over Betances
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The head of the baseball players’ union says “that page has been turned” in the spat regarding New York Yankees President Randy Levine and what he said about reliever Dellin Betances’ agents.
Levine had called Betances a victim of “over-the-top demands based on very little sense of reality” by his representatives at an arbitration hearing on Feb 18. The Yankees beat Betances in the case, and he will be paid $3 million rather than his $5 million request.
“Dellin is focused in on the season, we’re focused in on the season and look forward to have him continue to do what he’s always done, which has been a tremendous contributor to his club and winning on the field,” union chief Tony Clark said Sunday.
Clark talked with Yankees players as part of his annual visit to spring training camps in Florida and Arizona.
Levine, one day after the decision was announced, said he felt bad that Betances “was used that way by his agents.”
Clark said he has not talked with Levine about the matter.
Betances figures to be primarily a setup man again following Aroldis Chapman’s return to the Yankees. New York gave Chapman an $86 million, five-year contract, a record for a relief pitcher.
Betances struck out 126, leading big league relievers for the third straight year, and went 3-6 with a 3.08 ERA and 12 saves in 17 chances.
The right-hander threw a simulated game Sunday and is set to make the first of two likely appearances Wednesday night with the Yankees before departing March 5 to join the Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic.
Clark said “it’s more likely now than it would have been in the past” that MLB will play games in London next year.
The Yankees and Boston are two teams that may get consideration if the games are finalized.
The WBC this season was a main reason that overseas games gained little traction.
“Now who makes that trip remains to be seen,” Clark said. “There’s more flexibility now, however, moving forward. So, as we sit down to discuss jointly with Major League Baseball what some of those tours, those games, that travel may look like. It is usually beneficial to start that conversions with some flexibility we didn’t have before. ”
Clark reiterated that the union is willing to talk with MLB about rule changes involving pace of game.
But the expected experiment to automatically place a runner on second base to start extra innings in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League and Arizona League this summer will have a tough time reaching the big leagues.
“So far the feedback that we have gotten is just that it will be a challenge to have it happen here,” Clark said. “The feedback that we have gotten is been pretty definitive with respect to that rule.”