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.
MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports that the Marlins have signed utilityman Ty Wigginton to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Wigginton will be competing for a bench job. He can play first, second, and third, and even has experience in the outfield corners.
Wigginton was unproductive with the Cardinals last year, posting a .158/.238/.193 line in 63 trips to the plate. He has posted negative WAR in four out of the last five seasons, combining for -2.6, according to Baseball Reference. The only players less valuable than Wigginton, minimum 1,000 plate appearances since 2009, have been Yuniesky Betancourt (-6.5 WAR) and Greg Dobbs (-3.8).
The appetizer is out of the way, now comes the entree: step aside, Tanaka. We all eagerly await the winner of the Yuniesky Betancourt derby:
Finally, my inbox will stop being filled with “WHERE WILL YU-BET SIGN?” We’ll be spared the column after column of speculation on who will end up with him and what the legacy of the losing general managers may be. The logjam of infielders who can neither hit nor field all that well will finally break and we will have wave after wave of signings.
Or maybe this is just a matter of Betancourt’s agent trying to make a big show out of shopping his client around. Could be either, frankly.