Wilson Betemit Rumors
Here's the weekly 'Full Count' video from Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com...
- Three different scouts have told Rosenthal that the Phillies have asked the Astros about Hunter Pence. A deal seems unlikely for a number of reasons -- Pence's salary (he's owed roughly $5MM more this season), the Phillies' reluctance to move top prospects in a deal, and the fact that Jim Crane wouldn't want to begin his ownership of the Astros by dealing their best player.
- Ruben Amaro tells Rosenthal that Phillies ownership hasn't yet given him direction about what the GM can or can't do at the deadline. Amaro says the Phillies could find some payroll space without having to deal Joe Blanton, which might be impossible anyway given Blanton's struggles, high salary and the fact that Blanton is currently on the DL.
- The Angels are looking to acquire a corner infielder with some pop. Rosenthal suggests Russell Branyan, just released by Arizona, could be signed to share time at first base with Mark Trumbo. Wilson Betemit could be acquired to play third, since the Royals will shop Betemit to clear space for Mike Moustakas.
- Ian Stewart is another possible target for the Halos, but the Rockies aren't likely to deal him since they don't have any other answers at third base. The Rockies are also "relucant to sell low" on the struggling Stewart; Rosenthal says the Pirates recently asked about Stewart but were "simply bottom-feeding" rather than making a serious offer.
- The Dodgers were one of C.C. Sabathia's "top choices" when he was a free agent after the 2008 season, and he would "love to have the Dodgers as leverage" when he (as expected) opts out of his contract with the Yankees this winter. As Rosenthal says, impending free agents hope the Dodgers solve their ownership problems quickly so the team can resume its status as a big-market destination.
- Jose Reyes "is going to make a killing" in free agency this winter and Jimmy Rollins should also do well given the lack of quality shortstops around the league, Rosenthal predicts. The Brewers, Mets, Dodgers, Giants and Athletics are just a few of the teams that could be in the market for a shortstop in the offseason. The Giants and A's may be a particular fit for Rollins, an Oakland native.
- The Phillies, of course, could re-sign Rollins themselves. Rosenthal notes it would be difficult for the Phils to part with their long-time shortstop, particularly if the club makes another deep postseason run.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's dive in...
- Ned Colletti is under contract as Dodgers GM through 2012, but he has an out-clause after that. MLB is unlikely to stand in the way if another team asks to interview him before then though.
- The consensus is that the Cubs need to show some progress if GM Jim Hendry is going to keep his job beyond this season. The team's 14-17 start already has some in the game speculating about possible successors, which might include Colletti, former Diamondbacks GM and current Padres executive Josh Byrnes, and White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn. If the ChiSox are worried about losing Hahn, Rosenthal says they could promote him to GM and promote Kenny Williams to club president.
- Most expect the White Sox to "snap out of it," but if not, they could be a team to watch as the trade deadline approaches. One GM said Williams is not the type to "sit there in no man's land," so expect some rumblings about free agents to be Mark Buehrle and Edwin Jackson. Some believe Buehrle would only accept a trade to the Cardinals though.
- Their most intriguing chips are John Danks and Carlos Quentin, who are under team control as arbitration-eligible players in 2012. Danks could bring a significant return.
- The Royals could be quite busy if they remain in contention. The Zack Greinke trade and Gil Meche's retirement freed up significant cash, and the team could be both buyers and sellers. Wilson Betemit is expendable because of top prospect Mike Moustakas, possibly to the Marlins, and they could look to deal either Jeff Francoeur or Melky Cabrera. One thing they will need in return: bullpen reinforcements. The Kansas City bullpen is throwing a ton of innings.
Inevitably, some teams will be interested in third base help this summer. The Giants, Cardinals and Marlins have question marks at the hot corner now and other teams will presumably be looking for help at third this June, July and August. It's just a question of which teams are interested and which players are available.
As executives look around the league for alternatives to Michael Young ($45MM remaining on his contract) and Chone Figgins ($15.5MM remaining on his contract), their eyes may settle on a player who has a .305/.381/.504 line since the beginning of the 2010 season and earns just $1MM in 2011: Wilson Betemit of the Kansas City Royals.
A former top prospect turned journeyman, the 29-year-old Betemit is already playing for his fifth MLB team. He hit .297/.378/.511 with 13 homers in 315 plate appearances last year and has followed that up with a .333/.391/.480 showing so far in 2011. Betemit's numbers are flashy if not sustainable (.361 BABIP in '10, .429 BABIP in '11) and the available alternatives don't figure to be overwhelming.
Of course Royals GM Dayton Moore would have to have interest in trading Betemit for anything to happen. Now 15-13, the Royals are in second place in the AL Central behind only the surprising Cleveland Indians. If they continue winning more games than they lose, the Royals may not be interested in selling at all.
But if top third base prospect Mike Moustakas picks up the pace in Triple-A (his OPS now sits at .697) the Royals could decide to make Betemit available and, after they make a trade, promote Moustakas. Betemit is a free agent after 2011 and, unlike Moustakas, he isn't a long-term solution for K.C. Perhaps the Royals could flip him for a player who will contribute to their next great team.
Betemit's hot hitting, salary and versatility (he has MLB experience at short, first, second, left and right) suggest other teams are likely to call Moore later this summer. The Royals could stay hot, or Moustakas could stay cold, but it won't surprise many people if Betemit becomes trade bait within a few months.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
The Royals have agreed to terms on one-year contracts with infielder Wilson Betemit and catcher Brayan Pena, reports Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Betemit will make $1MM next season, while Pena will earn $660K. The Royals avoid going to arbitration with both players.
Betemit signed a minor league deal with Kansas City last winter and ended up delivering a career-best season in 2010. He hit .297/.378/.511 in 315 plate appearances with the Royals and received regular playing time at third base following Alberto Callaspo's trade to the Angels. Betemit just turned 29 last month and is a nice bargain at that price for K.C. given his versatile infield glove and his switch-hitting bat.
Pena is expected to take on at least a platoon role behind the plate next season. He has a .703 OPS in 357 plate appearances over his two years in Kansas City.
- The Padres will wait until Saturday to activate Chris Young from the disabled list, at which point they'll need to remove someone from the 40-man roster according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (Twitter link).
- Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times tweets that Joe Torre has informed his wife and Dodgers GM Ned Colletti about what he plans to do next season, but he will not make his decision public just yet.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams chatted with Joe Posnanski about football and the challenges of being in second place. Check it out at SI.com.
- Brian Bass cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple A, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter). The Pirates designated Bass for assignment earlier in the week.
- Andre Ethier told MLB.com's Ken Gurnick that it doesn't even make sense to comment on the rumor that he'd like to play in Boston.
- Joe Pawlikowski of FanGraphs argues that the Royals should offer Wilson Betemit a contract this offseason, since he can be something of a "bridge between the present and the future."
- Indians GM Mark Shapiro told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he and assistant GM Chris Antonetti met with friend and former colleague Josh Byrnes. The former D'Backs GM "would make anybody better," including the Indians, Shapiro said.
THURSDAY, 10:09am: Via a press release, the Royals announced they've agreed to a minor league deal with Betemit.
WEDNESDAY, 5:55pm: Wilson Betemit is likely to sign a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
Betemit spent 2009 in the Chicago White Sox organization, after being part of the deal that sent Nick Swisher to New York. Betemit hit .200/.280/.311 in only 20 games for the Sox, but has had some major-league success in the past. As the FOX report points out, Royals GM Dayton Moore was part of the Atlanta Braves organization in 2005 and 2006, when Betemit enjoyed his two most successful seasons with the Braves.
Rosenthal and Morosi speculate that the team might see Betemit as a "low-cost alternative" to the recently departed Mark Teahen.
How do you guys feel about interleague play? I understand the problems in creates in terms of the unbalanced schedule, but the fan in me still loves it. Anyway, here's some evening links as rivalry weekend kicks off...
- Wilson Betemit has been outrighted to Triple-A according to Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune. Betemit had been designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Gordon Beckham last week.
- Khalil Greene has returned to St. Louis not to play, but to "have his status re-evaluated" according to Derrick Goold. The Cards have been looking for middle infield help, and most recently have been connected to Miguel Tejada.
- Tyler Kepner notes that prospect Miguel Angel Sano will work out for the Yankees at their Dominican academy next Thursday. Here's the money quote from Sano's agent Rob Plummer: "I would say he has a Hanley Ramirez body and the possible upside of an Albert Pujols-type bat." Oh, is that all?
- Maury Brown notes that this week's amateur draft shattered MLB.com's traffic records.
- MLB.com's Todd Willis reports that the Rangers have signed six draft picks including Ruben Sierra Jr.
- The Blue Jays inked a nostalgic draft pick of their own, agreeing to terms with Tony Fernandez's son Jonathan according to Erika Gilbert.
According to a tweet by MLB.com's Noah Coslov, the White Sox will designate infielder Wilson Betemit for assignment before Thursday's game and call up top prospect Gordon Beckham. Beckham was the eighth overall pick in the 2008 Draft, and hit .318/.372/.512 in 184 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A this year. He has played mostly shortstop this year, but has seen time at third base recently. Betemit hit just .200/.280/.310 in 50 plate appearances this season after being acquired in exchange for Nick Swisher over the winter.
Mike Axisa writes for River Ave. Blues.
8:30pm: Gonzales has another story up on the Tribune's site with regard to Guillen and the Chicago White Sox.
Guillen said catcher A.J. Pierzynski will remain the No. 2 hitter in the lineup, according to Gonzales. Guillen also said Pierzynski will remain the primary catcher, which curbs suggestions that the Sox will go after free agent Ivan Rodriguez.
Guillen also reiterated what pitching coach Don Cooper has stated: Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Bartolo Colon (if healthy) will man the first four rotation spots.
Indications are that prized left-hander Aaron Poreda has an excellent shot at making the Opening Day roster, even if he doesn't beat out Clayton Richard or Jeff Marquez for the fifth starter's spot, Gonzales writes.
Guillen told Gonzales that he expects Wilson Betemit to be capable of playing all four infield positions. That, and outside Jim Thome, the White Sox do not have a true backup first baseman for Paul Konerko.
Scott Merkin of MLB.com was also there. He notes that minor league director Buddy Bell said Beckham has the ability to play any position.
5:30pm: Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that 2008 No. 1 pick Gordon Beckham will likely need to change positions.
Guillen expects Alexei Ramirez to be the team's shortstop for the foreseeable future.
Ramirez, 27, hit .290/.317/.475 with 21 home runs and 77 RBI in 136 games in 2008 -- his first year in the Major Leagues.
Of those 136 games, Ramirez spent time at second base (121 games) and at shortstop (16).
ESPN is reporting that the White Sox signed Wilson Betemit to a one-year, $1.3MM contract.
Betemit, acquired by the Sox in the Nick Swisher trade, will likely spend some time at third base for Chicago, who hasn't re-signed Joe Crede.