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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

[Yuniesky] Betancourt Back With Royals

When he fits in well around the clubhouse, he really fits in well AROUND the clubhouse!

The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has signed utility infielder Yuniesky Betancourt to a one-year Major League contract for 2012. Consistent with club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed…

“We have been looking for a utility infielder who could play short, third and second base and we feel Yuni is a great fit,” said Royals’ General Manager Dayton Moore. “He brings a right-handed bat with some power and is a guy we know fits in well in the clubhouse.”...

Betancourt is a career .268 hitter with 189 doubles, 60 home runs and 375 RBI in seven seasons for the Mariners (2005-09), Royals (2009-10) and Brewers (2011).

The District Attorney Posted: December 20, 2011 at 10:04 PM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: royals

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   1. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: December 20, 2011 at 11:30 PM (#4020572)
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
   2. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 20, 2011 at 11:32 PM (#4020574)
We have been looking for a utility infielder who could play short, third and second base

So what did they sign Yuni for?
   3. Bhaakon Posted: December 20, 2011 at 11:34 PM (#4020577)
As a dog returns to its vomit.
   4. geonose Posted: December 20, 2011 at 11:35 PM (#4020581)
It's Wisconsin's revenge on Kansas City for ending the Packers' perfect season.
   5. Champions Table Posted: December 20, 2011 at 11:35 PM (#4020584)
A utility infielder who could play short, third, and second base? Like Mike Aviles?
   6. Shock Posted: December 20, 2011 at 11:38 PM (#4020587)
I was hoping they signed him as a reliever.
   7. Basil Ganglia Posted: December 21, 2011 at 12:19 AM (#4020627)
After the D-Backs signed Bloomquist, the Yuni-Bomber was the only sucky ex-Mariner shortstop left on the free agent. So Moore had to sign Yuni or he would be completely shut out of that market.
   8. Bruce Markusen Posted: December 21, 2011 at 12:20 AM (#4020629)
I remember a few years back when the Mariners ran this advertising campaign that was centered around their double play combination of Betancourt and Jose Lopez. What were they thinking?
   9. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: December 21, 2011 at 12:30 AM (#4020639)
You see, the Royals spend a good piece of their life gripping Yuniesky Betancourt, and in the end it turns out it was the other way around all the time.
   10. The District Attorney Posted: December 21, 2011 at 12:43 AM (#4020657)
Neyer:
The Royals are set with young players at every infield position. But those young players do need guidance. They need guidance on not making plays at shortstop, not making plays at second and third base, not drawing walks or getting into good hitter's counts, and not always giving 110 percent.
   11. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 21, 2011 at 12:54 AM (#4020677)
A utility infielder who could play short, third, and second base? Like Mike Aviles?
By all accounts, Mike Aviles was a dick last year.

Normally, I think that stuff is over-rated. But in this specific spot--utility infielder for a team that's not competing for a division--I have absolutely no problem going with the Royals choosing the decent human being (who sucks) over the jerk (who sucks slightly less).
   12. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: December 21, 2011 at 01:23 AM (#4020698)
A utility infielder who could play short, third, and second base? Like Mike Aviles?


Like Yamaico Navarro?
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 21, 2011 at 01:43 AM (#4020713)
Like Willie Bloomquist? God, St. Willie never looked so good.
   14. Mike Webber Posted: December 21, 2011 at 01:51 AM (#4020718)
For the Win! Strong work Rob.

Neyer:

The Royals are set with young players at every infield position. But those young players do need guidance. They need guidance on not making plays at shortstop, not making plays at second and third base, not drawing walks or getting into good hitter's counts, and not always giving 110 percent.

   15. The District Attorney Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:28 AM (#4020739)
By all accounts, Mike Aviles was a dick last year.

Normally, I think that stuff is over-rated. But in this specific spot--utility infielder for a team that's not competing for a division--I have absolutely no problem going with the Royals choosing the decent human being (who sucks) over the jerk (who sucks slightly less).
I agree that if Aviles was a clubhouse problem (which I have no way of knowing), then it was ok to deal him, but I disagree with the rest of this.

? It would not surprise me at all if KC contended for the division in 2012. It'd be a "year early" in terms of The Process™, but that sort of thing has happened many times.
? As far as I'm aware, Yuni's reputation for work ethic and being a teammate is pretty bad. And that's been as a starter; not sure that being on the bench most of the time is going to make him any friendlier.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:35 AM (#4020743)
I've been sitting here trying to remember who the KC starters are ...

OK, Moose Tacos at 3B, I remembered that.

I know Chris Getz was at 2B but surely they've got a more promising player there now right?

SS ... complete blank. Oh wait, it's Escobar from Milwaukee right?

While it's true that "if the answer is Yuni, you're asking the wrong question" it's also true that "Chris Getz?" is the wrong question.
   17. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:38 AM (#4020747)
I know Chris Getz was at 2B but surely they've got a more promising player there now right?


Johnny Giavotella, who was occasionally pulled for Getz late in games after having one bad 9th inning fielding performance.
   18. MM1f Posted: December 21, 2011 at 04:56 AM (#4020818)
That Neyer quote is just so dumb and whiny. Oh no! My team signed a utility infielder who might be bad at some things? How dare they!

I assume Neyer thinks Betancourt has started 950 games at SS in the last seven years out of pure dumb luck. Betancourt is almost certainly one of the best 30-40 shortstops in professional baseball, and that means he is a pretty decent backup infielder. Go look at some of the guys who were starting shortstops in AAA last year. You have a few worthwhile prospects but after that it is has-beens and never-will-bes, including a ton of guys who have no business trying to play shortstop at the major league level.

The complaint about the walks is especially petulant. It makes me think that Neyer's complaint is with the style of Betancourt's offensive performance rather than the overall quality of it. Please tell me Neyer isn't dumb enough to think that Hosmer is suddenly going to turn into a crappy hitter by watching Betancourt hit.

There aren't any flawless gods of walks out there that are both able to handle shortstop and sign for 1 year, 2 million. A guy who has been a starting shortstop, even a bad one, for seven straight years is a perfectly fine utility infielder signing.

Johnny Giavotella, who was occasionally pulled for Getz late in games after having one bad 9th inning fielding performance.


Giovotella has always had a pretty "meh" defensive reputation. Pulling a mediocre defender after a bad 9th inning isn't really such a crime.
   19. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 21, 2011 at 09:38 AM (#4020877)
A guy who has been a starting shortstop, even a bad one, for seven straight years is a perfectly fine utility infielder signing.


By B-R WAR, Betancourt has been worth 0.2 wins over the last three years combined. Fangraphs WAR sees him as 0.7 WAR below replacement level over that time span. There's literally nothing that be does well as a baseball player: he himself is one of the "has-beens and never-will-bes" you were speaking about. The Royals would have been better off signing a different inexpensive FA infielder, such as Ronny Cedeno, or hanging onto Yamaico Navarro rather than dealing him for an extremely underwhelming package of talent at the winter meetings.

Why buy the cow if you know the milk's sour?

The complaint about the walks is especially petulant. It makes me think that Neyer's complaint is with the style of Betancourt's offensive performance rather than the overall quality of it.


Betancourt had a .271 OBP last year, and hasn't had an OBP above .300 since 2007. Neyer is totally entitled to complain about Betancourt's ability to draw walks, since his low OBP puts his team at a huge competitive disadvantage when he's at the plate.
   20. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:02 PM (#4020899)
My issue with Yuni centered on the fact that despite being surrounded by upbeat, positive, supportive co-workers, despite a manager who publicly kissed his *ss every few days, despite a soft local media who only asks real questions when overwhelmed at times by Brewer bloggers demanding answers to the obvious, despite playing on a team in contention, despite ALL THESE THINGS THIS GUY STILL DOGGED IT ON THE BASES AND IN THE FIELD.

Just plain dumbfounding.
   21. zonk Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:12 PM (#4020902)
Betancourt is almost certainly one of the best 30-40 shortstops in professional baseball


He's really not.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:27 PM (#4020905)
Betancourt keeps getting jobs because he has the tools to be one of the 10-20 best shortstops in professional baseball. Due to laziness, poor conditioning, lack of effort and interest, Betancourt has been a terrible baseball player who isn't close to being one of the 30 best shortstops in professional baseball. He keeps getting opportunities because he could be good, but he isn't good and he hasn't been good.

It hasn't been entirely unreasonable for teams to give Betancourt these chances - maybe this year he'll care! - but that they've given him these chances does not mean either that he is good or that he has been good.
   23. bunyon Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:36 PM (#4020906)
You guys need to start preparing yourselves: if Yuni hangs around for 2 more years, he'll someday appear on a HOF ballot.
   24. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#4020909)
It was interesting that Yuni hit much better for about 3 weeks after Ron 'rested him' for a few games. there were folks calling for Ron to go to that well a second time when Yuni was stinking it up in September but I understand the manager's hesitation. You cannot be so obvious that even a guy like Yuni figures out your scheme.

He's a player that should just be ignored. He's too high maintenance for what you get in return.
   25. zonk Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#4020914)
Betancourt keeps getting jobs because he has the tools to be one of the 10-20 best shortstops in professional baseball.


What would a Betancourt who cares and lives up to his potential be?

A poor man's Alex Gonzalez? A rich man's?

Let's accept that he'll never -- even if FP Santangelo's hustly soul inhabited him or somesuch -- draw many walks... That's fine - there are plenty of plus players who don't particularly see a lot of ball 4's.

I don't know that we'd especially see his power spike, would we? We'd certainly see better defense - he does seem to flash the occasional tools to be a good defender... Let's say a bit more caring means he pays a bit of heed to learning pitchers, perhaps listening to a batting coach or two, etc. Maybe he goes from 250/280/380 to... 280/320/420?

I'm not disputing he could be better -- I'm just curious what a composite "good" Betancourt would be.
   26. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:54 PM (#4020915)
By the way, I am thrilled he is off the market as I was concerned that Doug might be tempted to re-sign him for a similar purpose, utility guy.

My two cents is that Yuni will be a disaster in that role. I seem him sitting around, gaining weight as he plows into the buffet after the game and when asked to play he's so diffident and fat the results are awful on a spectacular scale
   27. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: December 21, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#4020938)

I'm not disputing he could be better -- I'm just curious what a composite "good" Betancourt would be.


2007: 289/308/418 38 2b, 9HR, 2 3b.

Looking at Yuni's stats, he steals WAY fewer bases than I'd have guessed. For some reason, I had him pegged as the kind of guy who steals 25 bags, but gets caught 10-15 times doing it.
   28. Benji Posted: December 21, 2011 at 07:04 PM (#4021179)
I'd take him over what "the plan" is looking at. Jack Wilson? Ronny Cedeno? Crushed because Alex Gonzalez wouldn't go there? Christ, why not check out Fred Stanley or Amado Samuel?
   29. Walt Davis Posted: December 21, 2011 at 08:24 PM (#4021280)
I come not to bury Yuni but to ...

hold on, something's not right here.

Anyway, it is a time when we can decide how much we believe in something like WAR. Because, by Chone, he's been worth 2 WAR over the last 2 years. That probably is about the 30th best SS in baseball. It's true that in 2009 he was horrible (-1.8 WAR) but then he was worth 3.9 WAR in the 3 years prior to that. It's not exactly bragging but in the last 6 seasons, Betancourt has been above replacement in 5 of them.

What about his defense? Well, in 2008-9, Chone rates him as horrible, -20 runs combined. But, again, outside of that, he's been average. For the last two seasons, Chone puts him at +3. Looking career, in about 6 full seasons of playing time, he's -18 which just isn't much to get worked up about. And, in general, a guy who is an average defensive SS will be an above-average 2B and 3B defensively.

So, on paper, Yuni should be a perfectly OK backup MI/SS. Ronny Cedeno, for his career, is dead on zero WAR. Bloomquist looks no better. Wilson Valdez (the guy the Phils used when Rollins was hurt) is about the same (better defensively). Theriot is under 1 WAR for the last 3 seasons. From ages 31-36, Cairo put up .7 WAR in about 2 seasons of PA ... and he essentially stopped being a backup SS after 33 ... and he still gets jobs. This is what back-up SS and even bottom-tier starting SS look like.

The notion that Yuni is some sort of historically awful SS performance-wise is due to his historically awful 2009 but nothing else really.

Which isn't meant to dismiss HW's and MCoA's points -- he's eminently replaceable if he's a pain in the butt and there's no reason to spend good money on a player like this ... especially if you're not even sure he'll be content in a back-up role. At least with a Cairo-type you might argue that $1.5-2 M is worth it for the stability of a guy you know is content in that role.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 21, 2011 at 08:39 PM (#4021293)
What about his defense? Well, in 2008-9, Chone rates him as horrible, -20 runs combined. But, again, outside of that, he's been average. For the last two seasons, Chone puts him at +3. Looking career, in about 6 full seasons of playing time, he's -18 which just isn't much to get worked up about. And, in general, a guy who is an average defensive SS will be an above-average 2B and 3B defensively.

Walt,

Chone is the only defensive system that has Yuni as near avg.

UZR has him at -11.4, -16.7, -9.5, -6.9 from '08-'11, DRS -13,-19,-21, and TZL -18.8, -23.1, -2.0, from '08-'10.

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