Brewers GM thinks Yuniesky Betancourt is underrated

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Yuniesky Betancourt was horrible this season, batting .252 with a .271 on-base percentage and .381 slugging percentage to go along with his increasingly range-less defense at shortstop.

Alex Gonzalez was the only player in baseball to accumulate more plate appearances than Betancourt with a lower on-base percentage and only five players batted more often with a lower OPS.

Wins Above Replacement, which attempts to quantify a player’s all-around contributions offensively and defensively, pegged Betancourt as the fifth-worst regular in the entire National League.

Yet with the Brewers holding a $6 million option or $2 million buyout on Betancourt for next season general manager Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “I thought Yuni Betancourt was a better player than what the critics said.”

Those “critics” have followed Betancourt from Seattle to Kansas City to Milwaukee, and their opinion somehow ends up being the same at every stop. And my guess is when it comes time to decide on that $6 million option Melvin won’t be putting his money where his mouth is.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.