Yuniesky Betancourt was said to be drawing interest last week from multiple major league teams, but free agents follow the money and the 31-year-old infielder is headed to Japan on a one-year guaranteed contract with the Orix Buffaloes.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal broke the story first.
Betancourt likely would have had to settle for a non-guaranteed minor league deal had he remained in North America. He gets better money in Nippon Professional Baseball and a much better chance for regular playing time.
A poor defender with an even poorer career on-base rate, Betancourt might have already played his final game in the majors. He batted just .212/.240/.355 in 409 plate appearances last season with the Brewers.
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner left Monday’s Cactus League game against the Athletics after he was hit by a pitch. He went for X-rays, revealing that he suffered a broken wrist, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Shaikin adds that Turner is unlikely to return before May, noting that Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman missed six weeks with a similar injury last year and Astros outfielder George Springer missed nine weeks in 2015.
Needless to say, this is a huge loss for the Dodgers. Last year, Turner hit .322/.415/.530 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 543 plate appearances, helping the Dodgers reach the World Series. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his career and finished eighth in NL MVP balloting.
Thankfully, the Dodgers have some versatile players on the roster. Logan Forsythe could move from second base to third, giving Chase Utley more playing time at second. Enrique Hernandez could man the hot corner as well. Chris Taylor has played some third base, or he could shift to second base in Forsythe’s stead. The club should shed some light on how it plans to move forward following Turner’s injury.