On this day two years ago, one of the more inexplicable transactions in recent history took place. The Royals, for reasons we may never fully understand, traded something of value (two minor leaguers) to the Mariners for shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and cash.
Betancourt, a 27 year old Cuban defector, was a career .279/.302/.393 hitter in 588 games with the Mariners. In 63 games before the trade he had hit .250/.278/.330, which is roughly comparable to what he's hitting in 2011 for the Brewers. Think about it for a second: This trade is roughly equivalent to finding someone willing to give the Brewers potential major league players in exchange for Yuni right now. It's incredibly unlikely.
The players the Mariners received for Yuni weren't exactly world-beaters, but they were better than Yuni. Reliever Dan Cortes is only 24 years old and he's already playing in his third AAA season. He made his major league debut as a Mariner last year. Pitcher Derrick Saito posted a 3.86 ERA in 13 appearances for Clinton in the Midwest League last season.
Yuni very well could be playing his final major league season in 2011, but on this day two years ago he proved that it is occasionally possible to get something for nothing.