Yuniesky Betancourt Rumors
5:22pm: Betancourt's base salary is for $2MM, and he could earn an additional $500K in incentives related to playing time, tweets Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star.
1:41pm: The Royals announced that they signed Yuniesky Betancourt to a one-year, Major League contract. The Royals' 40-man roster includes 39 players with the addition of Betancourt, who was traded to Milwaukee from Kansas City in last offseason's Zack Greinke trade.
“We have been looking for a utility infielder who could play short, third and second base and we feel Yuni is a great fit,” Royals GM Dayton Moore said in a statement. “He brings a right-handed bat with some power and is a guy we know fits in well in the clubhouse.”
Betancourt, 29, posted a .252/.271/.381 line as the Brewers' everyday shorstop in 2011. He posted a negative UZR/150 (-7.4) for the sixth time in as many seasons as a regular shortstop. The Royals clearly intend to use Betancourt at second base, where he has started nine MLB games and at third, where he has yet to play an inning in the Major Leagues. He'll back up Royals infielders Alcides Escobar, Johnny Giavotella and Mike Moustakas in 2012.
The Brewers are on the hook for a likely salary in excess of $11.5MM for reliever Francisco Rodriguez next year, after K-Rod accepted their arbitration offer. The latest on the team after GM Doug Melvin met with reporters:
- Melvin said he doesn't have to trade Rodriguez to clear payroll space, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The Brewers feel good about the back end of the bullpen now, and Melvin noted that Rodriguez's added cost should be considered less the $3MM he would have had to spend to sign two compensatory draft picks. That estimate doesn't hold water if you assume the Brewers would have received, say, the Padres' second-round pick plus a supplemental choice. Slot for two picks of that nature would probably total $1.25MM.
- Asked about Aramis Ramirez, Melvin said, "Anybody that's still a free agent is a possibility."
- Melvin hopes to zero in on a shortstop early next week. Yuniesky Betancourt, Alex Gonzalez, and Rafael Furcal are the candidates, writes MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- Melvin gave some parameters to Takashi Saito's agent Nez Balelo, which didn't change post K-Rod. It's not an official offer, but Melvin expects Balelo to try to get more from another team. Six to eight teams have shown interest in Saito, Balelo told WEEI's Alex Speier yesterday.
Tuesday afternoon's NL Central items:
- Carlos Lee's limited no-trade clause supersedes his ten-and-five rights, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (on Twitter). The Astros have reportedly been telling teams they'll eat half of Lee's salary in a trade.
- The Brewers have talked to Yuniesky Betancourt's agent about bringing the shortstop back, but haven't made an offer, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- In a piece for Baseball America, Haudricourt explains why Brewers GM Doug Melvin was baseball's top executive in 2011.
- Manager Dale Sveum says the Cubs haven't talked about bidding on Yu Darvish, tweets Yahoo's Steve Henson.
The Brewers stand to lose both Takashi Saito and Francisco Rodriguez to free agency this winter, and GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel that he plans to talk to agents and look for bullpen help at the Winter Meetings next week (all Twitter links). Furthermore, the club is also looking to add infield help, though the only player they are actively trying to sign right now is Jerry Hairston Jr.
Jimmy Rollins, Alex Gonzalez, Rafael Furcal, and 2011 Brewer Yuniesky Betancourt are among the shortstops the club has checked in on. Melvin said he plans to meet with Betancourt's agent next week. Last week we heard that Milwaukee has already offered Hairston a one-year deal, but several other teams are interested as well. Melvin also confirmed that he does not have any offers out to free agent relievers at the moment.
10 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make today, and we'll update them in this post in advance of the 11pm central time deadline. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.
Updated team decisions:
- The Giants won't offer arbitration to Pat Burrell (B) or Cody Ross (B) according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Carlos Beltran (A) contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Dodgers declined to offer Hiroki Kuroda (B) arbitration, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (on Twitter). Rod Barajas (B) already signed with the Pirates.
- The Pirates offered arbitration to Derrek Lee (B) while declining to offer Ryan Ludwick (B) and Chris Snyder (B) arbitration. Ryan Doumit (B) already signed with the Twins.
- The Phillies did not offer Roy Oswalt (A) or Brad Lidge (B) arbitration, according to the AP (via ESPN). The team announced that it offered arbitration to Raul Ibanez (B), Ryan Madson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), and Jimmy Rollins (A), according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- The Cubs offered arbitration to Carlos Pena (B) and Aramis Ramirez (B) but not to Kerry Wood (B), according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Cardinals offered Edwin Jackson (B) and Albert Pujols (A) arbitration, but declined to make offers to Rafael Furcal (B) and Arthur Rhodes (B), according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). That leaves Octavio Dotel (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary).
- The Mets offered Jose Reyes (A) arbitration, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter).
- The Padres will offer arbitration to Heath Bell (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Aaron Harang (B), tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com.
- The Brewers offered Prince Fielder (A) and Francisco Rodriguez (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) arbitration. They declined to offer Yuniesky Betancourt (B) arbitration. Takashi Saito (A), contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Braves did not offer arbitration to Alex Gonzalez (B), according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Teams with automatic decisions only:
- Reds: Francisco Cordero (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary), Ramon Hernandez (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary)
- Astros: Clint Barmes (B, already signed with Pirates)
- Rockies: Mark Ellis (B, already signed with Dodgers)
The press caught up with Brewers GM Doug Melvin and owner Mark Attanasio this afternoon. Here are some highlights..
- When asked if he could spend big on one free agent and still fill other holes on the team, Melvin said, "Probably not at this time," tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- Melvin has not talked with Jose Reyes' agent since their first phone conversation and ceded that the talks don't have a great deal of momentum at this point, tweets Haudricourt.
- Both Melvin and owner Mark Attanasio made it clear they expect to contend in 2012, with or without the services of Prince Fielder, according to Haudricourt (via Twitter).
- Attanasio called arbitration eligible third baseman Casey McGehee a bounce-back candidate, indicating that the Brewers will tender him a contract, tweets Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.
- Melvin keeps saying that Yuniesky Betancourt is better than his critics say and that makes Haudricourt (via Twitter) think that Betancourt will return as the team's starting shortstop.
This week's GM meetings are being held in Milwaukee, so let's round up some news from the local team...
- GM Doug Melvin confirmed to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that they will not extend an offer to Prince Fielder during this week's GM meetings. “We won’t do that here,” said Melvin, who is open to meeting with Fielder's agent, Scott Boras.
- Melvin told McCalvy that he has not decided if he will make more phone calls or have a face-to-face meeting with Jose Reyes' agent, Peter Greenberg. “[We've made] one phone call ... No numbers," said the GM.
- The Brewers declined Yuniesky Betancourt's $6MM option for 2012, but Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel that he's "very interested" in bringing the shortstop back at a lower salary.
- Melvin has also spoken to Jerry Hairston Jr.'s agent about returning, according to Haudricourt (on Twitter).
A Brewers spokesperson confirmed that the club has declined the $17.5MM option on Francisco Rodriguez and the $6MM option on Yuniesky Betancourt, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. The pair will receive buyouts of $3.5MM and $2MM, respectively.
The Brewers acquired Rodriguez from the Mets in a July deal that saw Adrian Rosario and Danny Ray Herrera shipped off the New York as players to be named later. He excelled in 29 innings for the Brew Crew, posting a 1.86 ERA and a 10.2 K/9. It was reported at the time of the trade that the Mets would be responsible for the $3.5MM buyout on Rodriguez's deal.
Betancourt, 29, came to the Brewers along with Zack Greinke in last year's deal with the Royals. He acted as the starting shortstop for the NL Central champs all season, hitting .252/.271/.381 in 584 regular season plate appearances before heating up in the playoffs (.310/.326/.500).
While there should be some interest in Betancourt as a part-time player, it seems unlikely that he'll land another full-time job this winter. It's even less likely that he'll match the guaranteed money he earned when he signed his last contract, a four-year, $13.75MM deal. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets that the Brewers would consider bringing him back at a lower price.
To follow the status K-Rod and Betancourt, along with the rest of the 2012 free agents, check out our Free Agent Tracker.
MLBTR's Luke Adams contributed to this post.
The Brewers’ season is over and while GM Doug Melvin wishes his club were in the World Series, he’s proud of its accomplishments. "There's just too many good things that happened this year for me to be hanging my head,” he said, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Here are more details from today’s press conference via Haudricourt:
- Melvin and Brewers owner Mark Attanasio will meet in early November to discuss what kind of offer they can make free agent first baseman Prince Fielder.
- The Brewers aren’t concerned about Shaun Marcum’s health, though the right-hander struggled in the postseason.
- Melvin said Yuniesky Betancourt was “a better player than what his critics said.” The Brewers have a $6MM option ($2MM buyout) for the shortstop in 2012 and Melvin declined to say whether they'll pick it up.
- Melvin explained that he would like to improve defensively without sacrificing on offense.
- He said the Brewers will seriously consider giving Mat Gamel a chance to make an impact in the Major Leagues if an opportunity emerges (i.e. Fielder signs elsewhere).
- The Brewers haven’t talked about moving Corey Hart to first base.
- Melvin said he’ll check in with free agents LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito. Francisco Rodriguez is likely to sign elsewhere, probably as a closer.
- Melvin said Casey McGehee can still be a good player, despite his disappointing 2011 campaign.
- Craig Counsell hasn’t told the Brewers whether he intends to play again next year, but it sounds as though Melvin would have some interest in re-signing him. Melvin also expects to speak to Jerry Hairston Jr. and his representative.
- Mitch Stetter, Manny Parra and Josh Wilson are non-tender candidates, as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explained this week.