Wilson Betemit’s two-year contract with the Orioles is worth $3 million in guaranteed money and could be worth up to $6 million if his 2014 option vests based on playing time, according to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun.
Betemit has bounced around a ton over the past few years, so his agent did very well to secure him a multi-year commitment, but the price tag is certainly reasonable enough for the Orioles and at age 30 he should stave off a major decline for a while.
Betemit is expected to be the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and that might seem like a stretch at first glance, but he’s hit a combined .290 with 21 homers and an .838 OPS in 181 games during the past two seasons. His career has been limited by the lack of a clear home defensively, but when given a chance for regular playing time Betemit has almost always hit well and at the very least the switch-hitter would be a nice part-time player for $1.5 million per season.
The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.
Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.
In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.