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Thoughts on the Wilson Betemit-to-Detroit deal

Jul 20, 2011, 6:40 PM EDT

Wilson Betemit AP

– Whatever trade value Wilson Betemit might have had was destroyed when the Royals opted to call up Mike Moustakas to play third base.

Moustakas was promoted even though he wasn’t exactly tearing up PCL pitching: he had a .287/.347/.498 line in 250 at-bats.  That wasn’t even close to Eric Hosmer‘s early performance, and it doesn’t match second baseman Johnny Giavotella’s .337/.392/.483 line, either.  Giavotella, though, has been passed over time and time again even though second base has been a bigger problem than third base for the Royals since day one.

Moustakas, by the way, has been a disaster in six weeks with the Royals.  He is currently hitting just .198/.262/.252 with four RBI in 111 at-bats.  Betemit was hitting .289/.348/.411 with 23 RBI in 180 at-bats on the day the move was made.  He’s had just 25 at-bats since.

– As a result, the Royals received only a couple of long shots in return in LHP Antonio Cruz and catcher Julio Rodriguez.

Cruz, 19, is 2-6 with a 3.11 ERA in 10 starts and 12 relief appearances with Single-A Lakeland.  He has the fastball-curveball combination to potentially succeed as a reliever, but he’s a project at this point.

Rodriguez, 20, was hitting .283/.325/.354 with one homers in 226 at-bats for Lakeland.  It’d be a big upset if he grows up to become a legitimate backup.

– The Tigers can now set up a straight platoon at third base.

Brandon Inge has had a disastrous season, but his OPS is 100 points higher against left-handers.  In his career, he’s 140 points better against southpaws.  And while Betemit is nominally a switch-hitter, he’s always been far better against right-handers.  This year, he has an .826 OPS against righties, compared to a .553 mark versus lefties.  In his career, his OPS is 125 points better against righties.

The Tigers will probably play Inge against some righties, but they should go with a strict platoon and then use Inge off the bench as a defensive replacement when he’s not starting.

– The Brewers really should have trumped this.

Milwaukee’s minor league system is pretty much empty after the Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Francisco Rodriguez deals, but the Brewers still could have beat this offer and they had just as much need for a platoon partner for Casey McGehee as the Tigers did for Inge.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Jul 20, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    I wouldn’t call an .845 too shaby though either. Wouldn’t that warrant a call-up for a youngster on a team building toward the future?

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 20, 2011 at 6:45 PM

      .845 OPS obviously. If there was an edit function such mistakes could be immediately corrected in the original post.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jul 20, 2011 at 6:49 PM

      No, shabby it wasn’t.

      I was on the fence about the move at the time. I understand why the Royals wanted to do it, but I didn’t really see Moustakas proving to be an upgrade and I thought it’d make more sense to wait until after a Betemit deal to make the move.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 20, 2011 at 6:53 PM

        Hmm…I see your point. Fair enough.

      • thekcubrats - Jul 21, 2011 at 12:31 PM

        You really got it right, here, Matthew, on the foolishness of waiting to deal Betemit well after Moose was brought up. He had real value earlier this year, and what they got was chump change chumps. Great point, one that needed to be made. Thanks.

        But alas, you again compound it with baseless speculation immediately proven wrong by what the team in question did after acquiring Betemit. No, there is not going to be an Inge Betemit platoon. You still need better contacts and a better sense of how things play out in the reals. There’s this new-fangled thing the kids are using, called Twitter. Maybe you could use it to plug into people who actually have the pulse in hand. Or simply refrain from [hat]-pulling guesswork, which is not your “fort” as the announcers say.

  2. spudchukar - Jul 20, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    Looks like it will be Melky Cabrerra in RF for the Phightens. Talks are heating up with the Royals.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 20, 2011 at 6:49 PM

      Really? I wouldn’t mind that. He is having a decent season. Any word on who the Phightens would have to send the other way?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 20, 2011 at 6:52 PM

        Shit man, he is a terrible fielder. Worse than Ibanez. I just looked up his stats. That makes me leery.

      • spudchukar - Jul 20, 2011 at 6:56 PM

        No word yet. Cabrerra can cover ground, it just takes him forever to get started, but like you say he has had a pretty darn good year with the stick for KC.

      • FC - Jul 20, 2011 at 7:04 PM

        Worse than Ibanez? I didn’t think that was possible…

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 20, 2011 at 7:10 PM

        I just read that Buster Olney (I know, I know) is reporting that Hunter Pence is indeed available. Make the move Phillies. Don’t move Brown, but make the move.

  3. royalsfaninfargo - Jul 20, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    Give the Moose time Matthew. The future is not right now for the Royals and they are being patient with him. Sam Mellinger thinks he is pressing to hard and needs to calm down, also there are rumors he and the Hos have quietly developed a rivalry that might be affecting him.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jul 20, 2011 at 7:20 PM

      Oh, sure. I’m not writing him off. He still projects as an excellent hitter in time.

    • randall351 - Jul 21, 2011 at 9:29 AM

      I just hope they aren’t hurting Moose’s development by pushing him for no real reason. Look at how they handled Gordon, and how long it’s taken him to get going. Following the Gordon debacle, I’m very leery at the way the Royals handle top prospects. This is the first decent season Gordon has had in like what 4 years in the Majors? They kept him up in the Majors even though he was doing awful, and I think that really hurt him.
      I would of much rather they kept Moose down in AAA all year, or at least till September.

  4. sparty99 - Jul 20, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    This won’t be a platoon situation, at least not with Brandon Inge. Dave Dombrowski has said that Don Kelly is now above Inge on the depth chart. It’s highly likely that Inge has played his last game in a Tigers uniform.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jul 20, 2011 at 7:30 PM

      I know it won’t happen, but Kelly is the one who should go as a result of this deal. He doesn’t hit, and his versatility isn’t all that useful when he can’t play the middle-infield spots.

      • sparty99 - Jul 20, 2011 at 8:45 PM

        You watch many Tigers games Matt? Inge is not only hitting atrociously, but he’s looking bad doing it. His OPS + is 38. And if it’s at all possible, he’s been worse since he came back from mono. And not for nothing, but Kelly knows his place as a utility player. Inge complained when the Tigers acquired two future Hall of Famers to replace him, and he’s been outright antagonistic toward fans who have justifiably complained about his performance. He’s not going to accept a platoon role quietly, and considering his performance, the Tigers shouldn’t have to put up with an attitude from him.

  5. sportsdrenched - Jul 21, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    I think it’s time for Moose to go down again. He looks completly lost.

    And Johnny Godfather (that’s easier to spell that Giavatella) getting passed over for Chris Getz is getting to be worse craw in the saddle than the fact that Kyle Davies is still on the roster.

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