This year, both sides made sure it wouldn't happen again. Betances and the Yankees reportedly avoided arbitration Friday by agreeing to a one-year, $5.1-million deal for 2018, a source told Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.
The settlement not only gives Betances a handsome 2018 salary, but ensures both sides avoid a repeat of last spring's controversial arbitration hearing that led to team and player publicly airing their grievances.
After the Yankees defeated Betances in that hearing - he was paid $3 million in 2017, less than the $5 million he had asked for - club president Randy Levine publicly ripped his All-Star reliever, calling his $5-million request "half-baked."
His agent then fired back, revealing the Yankees had blamed his client for declining ticket sales during the hearing. Betances took his own shots at Levine, saying the executive's public comments would make free-agency decisions "a little easier when the time comes."
Even the MLB Players Association got involved in the controversy, with union head Tony Clark calling the Yankees "unprofessional."
Betances put the controversial hearing behind him to produce a stellar 2017 season for the Yankees, who eventually advanced to the ALCS. The 29-year-old continued to serve as a vital component of the Yankees' bullpen, posting a 2.87 ERA, 10 saves, and 15.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 66 games pitched - enough to earn a fourth straight All-Star appearance.
He also made history by becoming only the fifth reliever ever to post four consecutive 100-strikeout seasons.