The Phillies have just announced that they’ve signed Yuniesky Betancourt to a minor league deal with an invite to major league spring training. Likely because Ruben Amaro wants me to be happy.
Betancourt hit .228/.256/.400 with seven homers last season and over the course of his career he has been one of the most consistent out-creators in all of baseball. And his defense is poor, despite the fact that he occasionally makes a highlight reel play out of instinct and/or accident.
All of which shouldn’t be the worst thing ever seeing as though this is a minor league deal. Except that the Phillies have a history of giving veterans on minor league deals a decent amount of playing time once the season begins. Juan Pierre and Mike Fontenot each got a lot of playing time for Philly after signing minor league deals last year.
So pray for Jimmy Rollins’ health, Phillies fans. Pray hard.
Sammy Sosa walked disgruntledly out of Wrigley Field in the middle of his final game with the Cubs back in October 2004. He was fined $87,400 for going AWOL and the Cubs traded him before the start of the 2005 season to the Orioles for Jerry Hairston Jr., Mike Fontenot and Dave Crouthers.
The relationship between Sosa and the Cubs has been strained since that incident — and the PED stuff hasn’t helped — but it might be time to let bygones be bygones. Here’s new team chairman Tom Ricketts, speaking in front of fans and reporters Saturday at the annual Cubs Convention in downtown Chicago:
“When we got here, there wasn’t much communication and we just really haven’t focused on it,” said Ricketts. “But maybe it’s an issue we pick up this year and see what we can do about it.”
“With Sammy, it’s awkward. I think over time there will be a good solution for all this stuff. But obviously we saw what happened with the Hall of Fame voting this year. I don’t know. It would be nice to put this chapter to rest and just welcome back all the guys who were from that era who were suspected of doing whatever.”
Those quotes come courtesy of CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney. Sosa hit .284/.358/.569 with 545 home runs and 1,414 RBI in his 13-year stay with the Cubs. He owns several prominent franchise records.
Mike Fontenot, who was released by the Phillies in August, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Rays.
Once upon a time Fontenot looked like a solid regular, but his stock has dipped dramatically in recent years. He got a late start in the majors and then hit .291 with an .826 OPS in 205 games through his first two seasons for the Cubs, but in four years since then he’s hit just .252 with a .686 OPS in 370 games.
He has experience at second base, third base, and shortstop, but at age 32 he’ll have to hit more to have any sort of significant big-league value. Tampa Bay also re-signed outfielder Rich Thompson to a minor-league deal and odds are he’ll be teammates with Fontenot at Triple-A.