The Second Yuni Era came to an official end tonight as Yuniesky Betancourt has signed a one-year contract with Japan's Orix Buffaloes, according to Ken Rosenthal. Financial terms of the contract are undisclosed, but this is a phenomenal deal for the 30 MLB teams that opted not to offer him a major league contract this winter.
Betancourt is a career .261/.285/.388 hitter across nine MLB seasons and was even worse in two seasons in Milwaukee, batting .235/.258/.371 across 289 games with the Brewers in 2011 and 2013. Somehow, despite being one of baseball's worst offensive players and a poor defender, he's appeared in 134 or more games in seven of the last eight MLB seasons.
No matter what happens, though, Yuni will always have April of 2013. He buoyed a sagging Brewers offense in that month by hitting six home runs and posting an OBP that almost reached .300 (his batting line for the month was .280/.299/.540). He was so exhausted from carrying the team through April that he hit just .189/.215/.287 after May 7 and still appeared in 107 more games. He started a lot of those games. At first base.
Yuniesky Betancourt started 92 games for the Brewers in 2013. The team went 39-53 in those games. When he didn't start, they went 25-25.
It's possible the fear of Yuni is something we'll always have. He's left before, only to return and somehow hit even less. But he's on another continent now, and that makes him less likely to hurt this team again.
This is a good day.