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.

Astros assistant GM Mike Elias reported to be next Orioles general manager

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Astros assistant GM Mike Elias will be the new general manager of the Orioles “barring a change of heart.”

Elias, 35, has been the Astros’ assistant general manager since August 2016. He had previously served as Houston’s scouting director and, before that, as a scout for the Cardinals. He was part of the team that came over from the Cardinals when Jeff Luhnow joined the Astros.

If he does take the O’s job his work will certainly be cut out for him. Baltimore was historically bad in 2018, finishing 47-115 thanks to a roster full of expensive, past-their-prime players and an underdeveloped farm system. He’ll have to hit the ground running too, as he’ll not join the team until nearly two months into the club’s offseason, having had no time to assess its needs and personnel. Oh, and the Winter Meetings begin in a little over three weeks.