Wilson Betemit

Thoughts on the Wilson Betemit-to-Detroit deal

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– 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.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.