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.

Victor Martinez played his final major league game on Saturday

Victor Martinez
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After 16 years in the majors, longtime Tigers DH Victor Martinez capped his career with one final start at Comerica Park. Although there are seven games remaining in the club’s regular season schedule, Martinez said he felt he owed it to the fans to record his final at-bat at home. He’ll still cheer the rest of the team on from the dugout when they hit the road for their last six-game stretch on Monday, though he’s not expected to slot into the lineup at any point during their back-to-back away series against the Twins and Brewers.

In order to commemorate the occasion, the Tigers arranged a pregame ceremony to celebrate the veteran infielder’s seven years with the team, during which they presented him with Topps baseball cards, a recliner, a pair of boots, and a saddle, among other honors. Martinez also put in a special request to play first base, a position he hadn’t manned in over two years.

The 39-year-old didn’t waste a single minute of his final start in the majors. He deftly handled an inning-ending out in the top of the first, then laced a rare infield single to short in his first and final at-bat of the afternoon, beating the throw to first and advancing Nicholas Castellanos to second base in order to set up the Tigers’ first run: a two-out RBI single from Niko Goodrum that brought Castellanos home to score.

“I think that at-bat was the perfect at-bat to describe my career,” Martinez told reporters after the Tigers wrapped a 5-4 win over the Royals. “I had to sweat it out. I had to sweat it out the whole way. I had to grind it. That was my whole career.”

Following the hit — and the standing ovation that greeted it — the switch-hitter was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez, who subbed in at second base in the top of the second while Goodrum shifted from second to first base. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, Martinez polished off his big league career with a lifetime .295/.360/.455 batting line, 423 doubles, 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI, and 28.4 fWAR across 1,973 games and three separate stints for the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. His accomplishments at the plate have been decorated with five All-Star nominations, two Silver Slugger Awards, and the designated hitter-exclusive Edgar Martinez Award following a career-best campaign in 2014.