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Monday, January 28, 2013

Phillies sign Yuniesky Betancourt to a minor-league deal

Will be interesting to see what Dayton Moore gives up to acquire him this summer.

The Phillies have signed shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to a minor-league deal, the team announced. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training.

The 31-year-old Betancourt hit .228/.256/.400 in 228 plate appearances with the Royals last season. During his eight-year career, Betancourt has seen time with the Mariners, Royals and Brewers. In 3,869 career plate appearances, Betancourt has a .266/.290/.392 career slash line.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 02:01 PM | 52 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: just an awful baseball player in general, no range, phillies, royals, swings at everything, yuniesky betancourt

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   1. The District Attorney Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4356646)
The Phils are having quite the offseason.
   2. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:28 PM (#4356654)
The Phils are having quite the offseason.

What other crap players that no one likes are available?
   3. JJ1986 Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4356657)
What other crap players that no one likes are available?


Ugueth Urbina is trying to catch on somewhere.
   4. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4356663)
Hey, they also signed Chad Durbin. Try making fun of that!
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4356665)

What other crap players that no one likes are available?


Alfonso Soriano is available.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:58 PM (#4356692)
Really!? I mean, Yuniesky hasn't been above replacement level since 2007. -6 WAR in the last 5 years.

Does anyone really need more evidence that he is not a major league player? There have got to be 5 guys in the Mexican league as good as him.

   7. filihok Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4356695)
There have got to be 5 guys in the Mexican league as good as him.


And those 5 guys could all be had on minor league contracts, just like the 1 Yuni signed. So, ???
   8. ColonelTom Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4356697)
Prediction: Yuni will get at least 100 plate appearances with the Phils next year.
   9. DL from MN Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4356704)
Who else would they play if Jimmy Rollins gets injured?
   10. JJ1986 Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:11 PM (#4356706)
Who else would they play if Jimmy Rollins gets injured?


Freddy Galvis? One of the MLBers who is worse than Betancourt.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:12 PM (#4356707)
And those 5 guys could all be had on minor league contracts, just like the 1 Yuni signed. So, ???

Any PT you give Betancourt, in ST or regular season, takes away an opportunity from someone that might actually help your team at some point.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:18 PM (#4356717)
Freddy Galvis? One of the MLBers who is worse than Betancourt.

Hey, Galvis was almost 2 WAR better than Betancourt last year. At least he hasn't proven yet that he sucks.
   13. spike Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:18 PM (#4356719)
Durbin did just fine for Atlanta last season. It took a minute to come around to the idea, but after a rocky start he was quite effective.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4356723)
The Phillies have signed shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to a minor-league deal, the team announced. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training.

"Listen, we like you, we want you in our organization. We just don't want you anywhere near spring training if that's OK."
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:23 PM (#4356727)
Hey, they also signed Chad Durbin. Try making fun of that!


His name anagrams out to "Ban Rich Dud".
   16. DA Baracus Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4356747)
What, did Ronny Cedeno turn them down?
   17. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4356758)
1. As much as I love the "Getting Younger; ur doin it rong" meme of the Phil's offseason to date, and as much as any acquisition of Yuni Betancourt is a bad acquisition of Yuni Betancourt, this seems much ado about nothing. Every team in the league has a player of this...um...value, coming to spring training on an NRI.

2. After the first month of the season, wherein he was shitastically brutal, Chad Durbin was one of the better relievers in the Braves' pen last year.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4356768)
2. After the first month of the season, wherein he was shitastically brutal, Chad Durbin was one of the better relievers in the Braves' pen last year.

Chad Durbin is a perfectly cromulent middle reliever. My only beef with him is I can't keep Chad Durbin and Chad Gaudin straight in my head.
   19. DA Baracus Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4356774)
this seems much ado about nothing. Every team in the league has a player of this...um...value, coming to spring training on an NRI.


That's what people say and then the next thing you know, spring training ends and the crappy player has made the team.

Betancourt is what he is. He isn't suddenly going to get better during the offseason. So the Phillies are bringing him in with a certain (low) level of expectation and if he meets it, they are adding him to their roster.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:06 PM (#4356782)
That's what people say and then the next thing you know, spring training ends and the crappy player has made the team.

Yup, and someone gets hurt, and instead of bringing up a minor leaguer who might actually have some upside, you give Betancourt 250 PAs and he gives you -1.5 WAR.
   21. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4356792)
1. As much as I love the "Getting Younger; ur doin it rong" meme of the Phil's offseason to date, and as much as any acquisition of Yuni Betancourt is a bad acquisition of Yuni Betancourt, this seems much ado about nothing. Every team in the league has a player of this...um...value, coming to spring training on an NRI.


I agree that so long as the Phillies don't play Betancourt anywhere above Lehigh Valley, this is a meaningless bit of roster-filling. But I'd dispute that every team has a player of Betancourt's talents; no one in baseball (except maybe Tony Pena and Brandon Wood) has proven he's not a MLB caliber player as comprehensively as Betancourt. Since 2008, position players with -3 or worse WAR:

Rk                Player WAR/pos OPSRfield
1    Yuniesky Betancourt    
-6.0   79    -77
2            Mark Teahen    
-3.7   88    -52
3           Jose Guillen    
-3.7   94    -38
4           Brandon Wood    
-3.6   41    -11
5             Greg Dobbs    
-3.3   88    -35
6            Juan Castro    
-3.2   45    -15
7         Garrett Atkins    
-3.2   81    -22
8         Jordan Schafer    
-3.0   66    -24
9              Tony Pena    
-3.0   -1     -


The OPS+ is SLG-heavy, so he's worse than that. He's a terrible fielder, a poor hitter, and he's 31 and has no upside. I'm sure there are minor league free agents with NRIs who are worse, but Betancourt has to be around the bottom of the barrel among guys with any real MLB experience.
   22. DA Baracus Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:11 PM (#4356796)
Yup, and someone gets hurt, and instead of bringing up a minor leaguer who might actually have some upside, you give Betancourt 250 PAs and he gives you -1.5 WAR.


Such as Joe Mather and Greg Dobbs last year.
   23. JJ1986 Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:12 PM (#4356798)
bringing up a minor leaguer who might actually have some upside


They don't have any. The IronPigs shortstop last year was Andres Blanco. Tug Hulett, Pete Orr, Hector Luna and Kevin Frandsen (already on the Phillies) played significant infield innings for them. The Reading shorstop was a 27-year old named Troy Hanzawa. His backup was 28.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:16 PM (#4356803)
They don't have any. The IronPigs shortstop last year was Andres Blanco. Tug Hulett, Pete Orr, Hector Luna and Kevin Frandsen (already on the Phillies) played significant infield innings for them. The Reading shorstop was a 27-year old named Troy Hanzawa. His backup was 28.

Then get somebody. Sign the best SS in the Mexican league who's not signed by any MLB team. He's very likely better than Betancourt.
   25. DL from MN Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:17 PM (#4356804)
What, did Ronny Cedeno turn them down?


Cedeno got a major league deal from the Cardinals
   26. DA Baracus Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4356811)
Cedeno got a major league deal from the Cardinals


That counts as a yes.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4356820)
Cedeno got a major league deal from the Cardinals

According to MLBTR, Jason Bartlett, Orlando Hudson, Alex (Sea Bass) Gonzalez, and Ryan Theriot are all available.

I'd try any and all of them before Betancourt.

Edit: Fangraphs already has a post up trashing Yuni.
   28. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4356833)
They don't have any.


Then get somebody.


I know there are not a lot of Phillies fans around here, but Galvis would be the ideal and easy candidate to fill in if Rollins got hurt. Extremely good defensive player who only played 2B last year because of Utley's injury.

And given that Rube gave the 2B job to Galvis (and considered giving him the 3B job this year), there is absolutely no chance YB would become the starting SS if Rollins went down.
   29. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4356839)
Then get somebody. Sign the best SS in the Mexican league who's not signed by any MLB team. He's very likely better than Betancourt.


The Braves are likely to carry Paul Janish. Granted, at least Janish can defend, but still. Every team has a player their fan bases hate for so much as taking up roster space.
   30. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4356841)
They don't have any. The IronPigs shortstop last year was Andres Blanco. Tug Hulett, Pete Orr, Hector Luna and Kevin Frandsen (already on the Phillies) played significant infield innings for them. The Reading shorstop was a 27-year old named Troy Hanzawa. His backup was 28.


I would, in all seriousness, rather watch any of those players than Yuni. Even Hanzawa, of whom I've never heard before now. At least a terrible player who's a Hawaiian midget might be fun to watch, and it's always nice to see a minor league lifer get a pension.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:39 PM (#4356842)
I know there are not a lot of Phillies fans around here, but Galvis would be the ideal and easy candidate to fill in if Rollins got hurt. Extremely good defensive player who only played 2B last year because of Utley's injury.

And given that Rube gave the 2B job to Galvis (and considered giving him the 3B job this year), there is absolutely no chance YB would become the starting SS if Rollins went down.


Yeah, but you're not planning on 150 games each from Utley and Young are you?
   32. JJ1986 Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4356844)
Yeah, but you're not planning on 150 games each from Utley and Young are you?


Frandsen backs them up.
   33. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:47 PM (#4356852)
Even Hanzawa


This made me laugh! I live in Reading, and Hanzawa is seriously the smallest person I've ever seen on a professional baseball field. The bat looks like that big red plastic bat in his hand, except one weighted down with rocks. Betancourt I think is actually better.

And 32 is right, Frandsen is option A at 3B and would be behind Galvis and Utley at 3B. So even if two of the three of 3B/2B/SS does down, Betancourt is not your starter. If all 3 go down, it doesn't really matter who is playing.
   34. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:47 PM (#4356855)
A few minor league free agent infielders who haven't signed anywhere yet: Drew Sutton, Adrian Cardenas, Brad Emaus, the maybe-crippled Harold Garcia, Josh Bell, Ruben Gotay, Matt Kata...


No, I wouldn't want to use any of those guys at shortstop. But this is Yuniesky Betancourt we're talking about. We're well into "death is not an option" territory here. All of those guys have at least one thing they do well, or at least a chance of doing one thing well.
   35. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4356856)
no one in baseball (except maybe Tony Pena and Brandon Wood) has proven he's not a MLB caliber player as comprehensively as Betancourt.


That's not quite fair. Pena posted a 4.08 ERA in AAA the last two years and improved his K rate quite a bit in 2012!
   36. Copronymus Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4356857)
Sign the best SS in the Mexican league who's not signed by any MLB team. He's very likely better than Betancourt.


Out of curiousity, I looked up who the best hitting shortstop in the Mexican League last year was. It looks like it was Issmael Salas, who was last seen north of the border dropping out of the Cubs farm system after hitting .244/.306/.359 in AA during his age 24 and 25 seasons. He has hit a lot better than that in Mexico, though, and he's six months younger than Yuni to boot.
   37. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4356861)
Tsuyoshi Nishioka is available.
   38. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4356862)
I live in Reading, and Hanzawa is seriously the smallest person I've ever seen on a professional baseball field.


Christ, he looks like he's twelve years old. If you take the lead weights out of his pockets, what's he weigh, about a buck twenty?
   39. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:59 PM (#4356866)
It looks like it was Issmael Salas


FYI, Saltillo is at 5,200 feet of elevation. You need to apply a pretty deep discount to those numbers.
   40. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:02 PM (#4356868)
You know I forgot Frandsen even existed... had a nice 1/3 of a year in 2012 though
   41. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:03 PM (#4356870)
what always fascinated me about betancourt is that if you play him every day he stinks. and then if you bench him he pouts and sulks

that's some combo right there.
   42. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:05 PM (#4356873)
Tsuyoshi Nishioka is available.


No, he signed with the Tigers. The Hanshin Tigers.
   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4356875)
what always fascinated me about betancourt is that if you play him every day he stinks. and then if you bench him he pouts and sulks

that's some combo right there.


So, you're saying he makes up for his lack of talent with his shitty attitute?
   44. smileyy Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4356877)

They don't have any. The IronPigs shortstop last year was Andres Blanco. Tug Hulett, Pete Orr, Hector Luna and Kevin Frandsen (already on the Phillies) played significant infield innings for them. The Reading shorstop was a 27-year old named Troy Hanzawa. His backup was 28.


Out of curiousity, I looked up who the best hitting shortstop in the Mexican League last year was. It looks like it was Issmael Salas, who was last seen north of the border dropping out of the Cubs farm system after hitting .244/.306/.359 in AA during his age 24 and 25 seasons. He has hit a lot better than that in Mexico, though, and he's six months younger than Yuni to boot.


So are these guys better or worse than Yuniesky Betancourt? If they're not better, isn't that setting the WAR baseline too high?

I know WAR doesn't exactly capture replacement value, but it bothers me that the baseline can vary so much away from 0.
   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4356878)
A few minor league free agent infielders who haven't signed anywhere yet: Drew Sutton, Adrian Cardenas, Brad Emaus, the maybe-crippled Harold Garcia, Josh Bell, Ruben Gotay, Matt Kata...

I named 4 guys in [27] that are most probably better than Yuni.
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:09 PM (#4356882)
So are these guys better or worse than Yuniesky Betancourt? If they're not better, isn't that setting the WAR baseline too high?

I know WAR doesn't exactly capture replacement value, but it bothers me that the baseline can vary so much away from 0.


Since 2007, Yuni's has been at -1.2 WAR per 500 PA. There's got to be somebody better available, or WAR is FUBAR.
   47. ColonelTom Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:19 PM (#4356894)
There's no reason they need Yuni on the Lehigh Valley roster. Even if they don't send Galvis down - which they should, given that he needs to play to get better at the plate - LV already has Andres Blanco and Michael Martinez on its roster. Cesar Hernandez will play 2B and Cody Asche is at 3B, so Yuni isn't needed there either.

My guess is that Yuni will be cut if the Phils can find someone better via waivers/trade in late March; otherwise he'll be their 25th man.
   48. The District Attorney Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:24 PM (#4356900)
Although I don't think his defensive stats in limited time are anything exceptional, it sure seems to me that Andres Blanco is a helluva fielder. I think you could get value out of him by treating him like Mark Belanger, starting him but pinch-hitting liberally. But then I guess you'd have to carry pinch-hitters, plus another backup SS, which teams can't/won't do nowadays. So, never mind... sigh.

I can understand the argument that it's just an extra body -- what I really can't believe is the Phils' pattern of identifying and acquiring horrible veteran players -- but IMO, the fact that Yuni has never been happy on the bench pretty much undoes the "it can't hurt any" argument. Of course, people do occasionally learn (especially after repeated failure), and maybe the Phils spoke to him and he understands his role. (And of course, maybe he assured them he'd be fine with it, but he won't actually be when the time comes...)
   49. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4356901)
If I were going to gamble on a Mexican League shortstop for my UT IF, and I didn't take Salas, it'd probably be one of these three:

Jose Chavez.
Pro: 28 next year, so still in his physical prime. His offense seems to be trending up. Has doubles power, and seems like he can run. Was only 21 when he washed out of the US minors, so that failure doesn't say much about him currently. Switch-hits.
Con: Not a great defender at SS. Did wash out of the US minors, presumably for a reason.

Luis Borges.
Pro: Career-long shortstop. Hits for average - above .300 every year since 2008. Excellent contact rate. Put up his numbers in a reasonable offensive environment. Has never played (and by extension, failed) in the US minors.
Con: Doesn't walk. Doesn't hit for power. Doesn't have speed. At 31, could start to get old at any time.

Ricardo Serrano.
Pro: Well-rounded offensive game. Some average, some power, some speed. 27 next year, so still fairly young. Switch-hits. Seems to be trending up. Has never played (and by extension, failed) in the US minors.
Con: Has played more 2B than SS, though the numbers at 2B look good. Puebla is a crazypants offensive environment. Listed at 5'9" and 165, and as such might be too small to project forward.

Which one would you guys take?
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:31 PM (#4356907)
Which one would you guys take?

I'd take any of them over Yuni.

Probably Chavez, but if Serrano will change his name to Pedro, I might change my mind.
   51. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:37 PM (#4356911)
Which one would you guys take?


I'd take Luis Borges, because with that name he's 2/3 of the way to being a blind Argentinian librarian.

More seriously, I take the guy who seems like the best defender, whoever that is. A plus defender in Mexico will probably be a plus defender in MLB, but the hitting is more difficult to work out.


   52. beer on a stick Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4357640)
I'd take Serrano, but he has to leave that Jobu sh*t back in Puebla.

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