he don't look like a ballplayer, can't really play ball, but trust me, he makes the team. - USA TODAY Sports
Yuniesky Betancourt is not good at baseball. But if he rarely or never plays he has value on the roster.
So just a quick thought here and then you guys can get to killing me slowly in the comments.
Yuniesky Betancourt has an opt out clause coming up on March 24th. The Phillies have to guarantee him a spot on the 25 man roster or give him the ability to opt out of the deal.
Yuniesky Betancourt is a sub par defensive shortstop, and not quite an average bat at the major league level. the idea of even signing him to a minor league deal, on the heels of the Delmon Young signing, was met with a chorus of NOOOOO's from the smart fans, myself included. Regardless, he has the ability to play SS every day for a major league team, and has helped his cause to do that while Rollins was out playing for team USA. Should Ruben decide not to put him on the roster, he's gone.
That said, If I'm Ruben Amaro Jr. I believe there are only two options this week:
1. Put him on the roster
2. Trade him.
With the number of teams out there with questions at SS, Betancourt will bring back SOMETHING of value. His chances of actually seeing the field behind Rollins, Utley, Young, and even Frandsen are so minimal in the first month of the season, that eventually someone will come calling (You out there John Mozeliak?) for a guy who's started close to 900 games at SS in the big leagues. Kind of makes me wonder if Ruben didn't see this coming, when he signed him. Basically:
1. find someone to play SS while Rollins is at the WBC.
2. Hope he does well enough to pull of a deal before the season starts.
Yes folks. Yuniesky Betancourt has VALUE, and you don't just discard value when running a business. You extract value for value. The only way to do this might be to actually put him on the roster, even if you don't want to.
Why release him and let someone just pick him up for scraps? So they can let Freddy Galvis sit on the bench and collect dust to sub defensively for Michael Young a few times a week? I may be more bullish on Young than most, but I don't get that.
A note on Michael Young: For those of you who didn't watch the game Saturday, Michael Young is looking much better at third. he made five or six very good plays, and is noticeably lower to the ball recently. Eyeballing him, it looks as if he's been focusing exclusively at third base, and adjusted his fielding mechanics slightly for that. Basically, he's not trying to be average everywhere, and splitting his focus on two or three positions. All he's doing is focusing on playing third base. There's something to that. Is he an above average defender? No. But I haven't seen a butcher out there recently either. Also, from 2009 to 2011 he put up more fWAR and was a better defensive third baseman than THIS GUY
But I digress... back to Yuni: Jimmy Rollins played in 156 games last year, and started all but 2 through the end of May, and was pulled one time. Whoever the backup shortstop is, barring injury, his role is pretty insignificant until mid June. The only fear there would be Yuni starting if Rollins is hurt. (And should that happen, Galvis comes up anyway and is likely the starter) Yhe bigger point: Whoever gets the nod, between Yuni and Galvis, that guy ISN'T GETTING MUCH PLAYING TIME.
So what's better for both THE TEAM, and THE ORGANIZATION?
1. Release Betancourt, get nothing back, promote Galvis, and have him get a few AB's a start here or there (maybe over Frandsen) and if Rollins gets hurt, have Galvis and Pete Orr on the roster.
2. Keep Betancourt, let Galvis develop, and try and eventually ship Yuni to the Red Sox or Cardinals when Stephen Drew busts to avoid starting Xander Boegarts clock, or St. Louis realizes Pete Kozma isn't ready.
I'm all for number 2. Keep him for a month or so, if a deal can't get done this week.
But I'd put my money on a deal coming together before then.
And I'd bet Ruben feels the same way, and that my friends is why Yuniesky Betancourt makes the team. So when this happens (and trust me, if a trade isn't worked out prior, it will.) instead of shouting at the rooftops you should really just go meh.....
Don't be surprised to see the same scenario unfold with Delmon Young and Darin Ruf as we get closer to the deadline either, should Ruf inevitably start the season at AAA to keep Ender Inciarte on the roster. If Delmon can string together ANYTHING, Ruf finds his swing again at Lehigh and develops more in the outfield, and Brown does what we think he will, Delmon Young has the same kind of value.
Ruben may not be good at a lot of things, but he may be good for something here.