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Other Valuable Brewers: Yuniesky Betancourt

Or, "Other Brewer With Some Value, Technically, but Really is Utterly Worthless: Yuniesky Betancourt".

When the Brewers traded for Zack Greinke, I think the general sentiment was that it was a good pickup. Sure, the Brewers gave up a number of good prospects, but a team needs to pay well for a pitcher of Greinke's caliber. Unfortunately, the Brewers traded away their only decent shortstop, Alcides Escobar, in that deal. But they received a replacement in that same trade! Yuniesky Betancourt!

Most people realized that Betancourt was a suboptimal option at a key position in the field. He had a good defensive reputation coming up in the Seattle Mariners system, but never showed any ability to move laterally in the majors. But at least he had one discernible talent: He hit 16 home runs for Kansas City in 2010 and seemed like he could build off that towards, potentially, a 20 HR season.

Little did we know that Betancourt would have the second worst offensive season of his career in 2011. After a .300 wOBA in 2010, he dropped all the way down to .278 in 2011. The only season he was worse was in 2009 when he had a .271 wOBA. Betancourt has shown pretty much no desire to improve. His hitting numbers have fluctuated from bad to "No, seriously, I really do think I could play better than this guy". His walk rate in 2011 was tied for the worst of his career as he had just a 2.7 BB%. Of course, Betancourt not showing a desire to improve is nothing new. He had these problems back when he was with the Mariners, and he has them now.

But, hey, at least the Yuni era could be over. Betancourt is a free agent after the Brewers declined a team option on him. Of course, the Brewers now need a shortstop with nobody in their system even close to being able to play the position in the majors. Clint Barmes is off the market, and the contract Barmes' was given might have inflated the market enough that the Brewers won't be able to afford options like Rafael Furcal, much less Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes. There are other shortstop options. Alex Gonzalez and Ronny Cedeno come to mind. They would almost certainly be an improvement over Yuni, but how much so really?

My prediction: Doug Melvin signs Betancourt to a two year, $7.5 million contract and I become a Mariners fan full time.

Two .gifs illustrating Useless Yuni's worthlessness after the jump.