Home > Uncategorized > Betemit Traded, Royals Win

Betemit Traded, Royals Win

I think we all can now see that the problem with the Royals was Wilson Betemit. Of course I kid. The Royals yesterday traded Wilson Betemit to the division rival Detroit Tigers for pitcher Antonio Cruz and catcher Julio Rodriguez. I know nothing about these two players other than their numbers and that they are not considered in the upper tier of Tigers prospects, so I can’t provide a ton of analysis other than what you can find for yourself, but I’ll see if I can’t shine a little light on these two guys. Antonio Cruz is a left-handed pitcher who many see as a future reliever if he ever makes it to the big leagues. He throws a good fastball and good changeup and an inconsistent curve. He’ll be the youngest player on Kane County, but his numbers aren’t terribly impressive. Julio Rodriguez is a catcher who many see as an organizational guy who plays great defense. I think a lot of those guys can end up with careers as backup catchers due to the dearth of catching talent in the big leagues. A cursory look at his offensive numbers makes me hope that he’s like Ivan Rodriguez defensively.

In spite of the underwhelming players returned for Betemit, I think it was a good haul. For one, teams don’t give up big time prospects like they used to anymore, and if they do it’s for players better than Wilson Betemit. Don’t get me wrong. I’m probably one of Betemit’s biggest fans in Kansas City. When the Royals signed him to a minor league deal before last season, I loved it. See when I was little, the Royals didn’t have a ton of games on television, so I watched a lot of the Cubs and the Braves. The Cubs didn’t do it for me, but I really enjoyed the Braves, so much so that I’d consider them my National League team. Well, they had a young shortstop prospect named Wilson Betemit some years ago and they were constantly hyping him on TBS, so I sort of grew an affinity for him. Rational or not, I was sure that he was going to break out for the Royals. Sure enough, he had a very strong 2010 season and came back and was quite good for the Royals in 2011 before moving aside for Mike Moustakas.

The promotion of Moustakas is what took away a lot of the trade value of Wilson Betemit. When Betemit was playing every day, it was a near lock that he would achieve Type B free agent status meaning the Royals could receive a pick in the compensation round of the 2012 draft if he left the Royals as a free agent. By putting him on the bench, he wasn’t in a position to accumulate the numbers necessary to reach that status. Additionally, as a bench player who hardly played, the Royals didn’t quite have the leverage that they did when he was starting. And finally, while a very solid player, Betemit is also very limited in what he’s capable of doing. He can hit, play a below average third base and fill in at first base. That’s useful, sure, but when you factor in that he is a free agent at the end of the season, it’s not worth much more than two lower level prospects who you hope can contribute as a role player in the big leagues.

The fallout from the trade and the timing of it was actually really important in the game last night because Betemit was originally in the starting lineup. So, the first thing that happened was Moustakas was back in the starting lineup against a tough lefty like John Danks. The second part of it was that Mike Aviles was recalled from AAA, but he would be unable to make it to the stadium in time for the game, so the Royals bench, which was already short with just three players was down to two. Then, when Melky Cabrera left the game with a stomach bug and Mitch Maier had to come in, the bench was down to just Matt Treanor. Now, this particular problem came into play because of a transaction that happened at an inopportune time for that night’s game, but it’s part of a larger problem of roster management. This is a big reason why teams should not carry 13 pitchers. Any little thing happens and your bench consists of your backup catcher.

So twice in the late innings of a tie game, Billy Butler reached base and could not be pinch run for due to two reasons. The first is that his replacement in Treanor wouldn’t have even been considered an upgrade and the second is that you can’t use your backup catcher like that. After the game, Yost mentioned that they had Kyle Davies ready to pinch run and potentially play outfield if need be, but I’m not sure if he was joking. I don’t think he was, which concerns me about Yost’s sanity, but that’s another story for another day. Luckily, the Royals returned the favor from the walk-off balk and were able to score on a walk-off wild pitch with none other than Billy Butler at the plate.

And that leads me to my final point for this rambling post which is the conversation that people are having that Butler looked upset when Gordon scored the winning run. Quite frankly, I’m sick of the bashing of Billy Butler. He is one of the best hitters on the Royals and is one of the best hitting designated hitters in baseball. I understand that people are disappointed with his power and RBI numbers, and I am, too. That fact doesn’t mean he’s not an amazing hitter. The criticism reached a new low last night. I was at the game, so I wasn’t able to see Butler’s reaction, but my guess is that he was a little bummed at himself because he swung at a bad pitch. Sometimes a designated hitter might feel a little detached from the game, which is why it’s so difficult for players to make that transition. As a designated hitter, the only way you can help your team is by hitting and Billy Butler’s swing and miss at that pitch in the dirt didn’t help his team in any way. It’s been a frustrating season for Billy, but to think that he has an attitude problem because you think he might have looked annoyed when Alex Gordon slid across home plate is absolutely ridiculous.

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