Results tagged ‘ Yuniesky Betancourt ’
They settled on their utility infielders today.
They announced they had released Yuniesky Betancourt as requested. He had hit .447 (21-for-47) with three doubles, one home run, 14 RBIs, a .451 on-base percentage and a .574 slugging percentage in 18 Grapefruit League games. The Phillies had signed Betancourt to a Minor League contract with an opt-out clause, stating they had to place him on the big-league roster by Sunday or release him if he requested it. His agent Alex Esteban said Betancourt officially requested his release.
The Phillies essentially chose Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen over Betancourt.
“This was the evaluation, right or wrong, of what we thought was best for our club,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Better to have this decision — too many players — than not having enough.”
There have many storylines in camp, but as Spring Training in Florida comes to a close everybody seems to be talking about five things.
Let’s take a look at those five topics here:
Roy Halladay. There is reason to be concerned about Halladay. He looked fine in his first two Grapefruit League starts, throwing his fastball in the 89-91 mph range. But his velocity has dropped since then as he has had issues in each of his previous three starts. In his third Grapefruit League start his velocity fell into the 86-88 mph range as he talked about experiencing “dead arm.” He got shelled in 2 2/3 innings in his fourth start March 12, saying he felt lethargic. Then he lasted just one inning in his fifth start Sunday because of a stomach virus. Everybody is asking if Halladay is healthy. It is a fair and legitimate question to ask because Halladay and others in the organization said he was fine last March when he was experiencing lower back problems. But while the health question is justifiable, one also might ask this: Is Halladay simply running out of bullets? He turns 36 on May 14. He has pitched 2,351 1/3 innings from 2002-12, which ranks third in baseball. He has thrown 34,423 pitches in the regular season and postseason in that span, not including Spring Training games, bullpen sessions and warm ups. Maybe time is catching up to him, although he said in February he does not think he is there yet. It is a grim reality if it is true. Meanwhile, the Phillies are putting a positive spin on things, saying Halladay’s problems simply stem from a few mechanical issues and some problems with his cutter. They say all is well. They certainly hope they are right because it would be a blow to their chances if it is not. Halladay threw a bullpen session Wednesday and Rich Dubee said through a team spokesman, “Roy threw very well. He almost lost 10 pounds, so he’s just got to gain some weight back and get his strength.” Halladay is scheduled to make two more starts this spring before the regular season, including Saturday in a Minor League game at Carpenter Complex. It is strange to be writing this, but while in the past nobody would think twice about a couple poor Spring Training starts from Halladay, some positive results here would put some minds at ease. And not just the minds of fans. Phillies officials are putting up a brave face, but they would like to see some, too.
Ruben Amaro Jr. said today the competition for the team’s two utility infield jobs remains wide open with less than a week remaining before they need to make a decision.
Freddy Galvis, Kevin Frandsen and Yuniesky Betancourt are fighting for those jobs, but because Betancourt has an opt-clause he must be informed by Sunday if he has made the 25-man roster. If he has not, he can ask to be released.
Galvis is hitting .273 (15-for-55) with six doubles, one triple, two home runs and eight RBIs. He is the best defender of the three, and Charlie Manuel has been vocal in his support. Frandsen has had a good spring offensively, hitting .298 (14-for-47) with four doubles, one triple, two home runs and six RBIs. Betancourt went 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs in today’s 17-10 loss to the Braves at Champion Stadium. He is hitting .450 (18-for-40) with three doubles and nine RBIs.
“I think they’ve all played well enough to be on our club, so it has to be wide open,” Amaro said, “Defense is still important, but obviously it’s the total package of the player. All three of them have played very well. I’m happy with all three of them.”
Asked if he can make up his mind in the next six days, Manuel said, “I can make up my mind in two seconds.”
But has he?
“No, I haven’t,” Manuel said. “Everything comes into play. It kind of depends on where we want to go and what we see on our team. Really. We’ve got a good battle there, man.”
The Phillies signed Yuniesky Betancourt to a Minor League contract in January, and my Twitter feed quickly filled with stunned-and-confused comments about it. I guess it’s one of those things that happens these days. The Phillies sign a guy for organizational depth at relatively low cost and minimal risk and people freak out because he has a career .290 on-base percentage.
I mean, we’re talking about the 25th man on the big-league roster or Lehigh Valley’s possible everyday shortstop, but whatever …
But an interesting thing is happening in Clearwater: Betancourt is playing well and he could get one of the team’s two utility infield jobs.
What is especially interesting about the battle among Betancourt, Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis is Betancourt has an earlier than usual opt-out clause for March 24. The Phillies must tell Betancourt by that date if he has made the 25-man roster. If he has not made the team, he can ask to be released. March 24 is a full week before the Phillies play their final exhibition game, so the Phillies will have to decide on that before they theoretically come to conclusions about the final three bullpen jobs or outfield situation. Like I wrote yesterday, I would not be surprised to see Betancourt and Frandsen start the season with the team. Galvis can be optioned to Triple-A, where he could get more seasoning with the IronPigs. Meanwhile, Betancourt and Frandsen can show what they’ve got with the Phillies. If either struggles, the Phillies could recall Galvis at that point.
Interestingly, Ruben Amaro Jr. said Betancourt’s ability to play defense is key. That’s interesting because Galvis unquestionably is the best defensive player of the three, but the fact he has options and the others don’t could tilt the jobs in their favor.
“You could probably say right now, even though he’s a young player, he’d probably be the most reliable guy [defensively],” Amaro said of Galvis. “But again, Yuniesky has got a lot of experience. It depends on how [Betancourt] performs. We’re not making any decisions today. We don’t have to make any decision for several weeks, so we’re OK.”
Will your head explode if Betancourt makes the team? If you said yes, take a deep breath and relax. Like I said, we’re talking about the last bench player here. The Phillies won the World Series with So Taguchi‘s .580 OPS on the bench in 2008. They won a National League pennant with Eric Bruntlett‘s .462 OPS on the bench in 2009. And they won a franchise-record 102 games with Michael Martinez‘s .540 OPS on the bench in 2011.
I’m not really sure which way the Phillies will go, but Betancourt is playing well enough early to make the front office think long and hard about it.
I think the reality is most jobs are guaranteed, or very close to locks. He said there could be a competition for a fifth starter, but let’s call John Lannan the heavy, heavy favorite for that spot. I just don’t see him not making the rotation, unless there is an injury. I think it’s more realistic to say there are three openings in the bullpen, an opening or two in the outfield (depending on Delmon Young‘s health) and maybe an opening for a utility infield job, although Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen are the early favorites for those two spots (Yuniesky Betancourt could make things interesting, however.)
Galvis is coming off an interesting season. He made his mark as a defensive whiz at second base, but also fractured his back and served a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a metabolite of Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Galvis said in a statement at the time: “A trace amount of a banned substance – 80 parts in a trillion – was detected in my urine sample. I am extremely disappointed in what has transpired. I cannot understand how even this tiny particle of a banned substance got into my body. I have not and never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance. I have always tried to follow the team’s strength and conditioning methods, listen to the trainers, work out hard and eat right. Unfortunately, the rules are the rules and I will be suspended.”
Galvis reflected on the suspension yesterday.
“It was tough, man,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t do stuff and you pay for it. Like I said before, that’s life and you have to move on. Sometimes when you don’t do nothing and the blame you, that’s bad stuff, but they have rules and you have to follow the rules. But that’s in the past right now. Right now I’m focused on 2013.”
Galvis hit .226 with 15 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 24 RBIs and a .617 OPS in 200 plate appearances last season. He said he can succeed without PEDs, and is not concerned about proving anything to anybody.
“I don’t really care what people think about me,” he said. “I just care what I have to do here for the team and to win games. I’m not a guy who hits homers. I just try to put the ball in play, move the runner, bunt, sometimes hit in the game. That’s my game. I don’t try to hit homers. I try to play every day and prove to the team I can play baseball.”
Galvis is doing daily maintenance on his back, which he said he will have to do the remainder of his career. If he stays healthy, he seems like a strong bet to make the team because of his defensive abilities. This spring he should see time at shortstop (his natural position), second base and third base. He hasn’t played much third base before, but he thinks he can handle it.
“I think if you gave me a glove I think I could do it,” he said.
Here are some recent contract details for those interested. It’s interesting to look at Delmon Young‘s deal, plus incentives and opt-out clauses for players like Yuniesky Betancourt, Aaron Cook and Juan Cruz:
- Delmon Young. $750,000. Plus: $150,000 for 250 plate appearances; $150,000 for 300 plate appearances; $150,000 for 350 plate appearances; $150,000 for 400 plate appearances; $200,000 for 450 plate appearances; $200,000 for 500 plate appearances; $250,000 for 550 plate appearances; $250,000 for 600 plate appearances. Plus: $50,000 for All-Star ($25,000 selection); $100,000 for MVP; $100,000 for World Series MVP; $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $50,000 for Gold Glove; $50,000 for Silver Slugger. Plus (for each on active Major League roster): $250,000 for 1 day; $100,000 for 40 days; $100,000 for 80 days; $100,000 for 120 days; $100,000 for 160 days. Plus: $100,000 each for six conditioning thresholds.
- Chad Durbin. $850,000. Deal includes a $1.5 million club option for 2014 or a $250,000 buyout. Plus: $50,000 for 55 games pitched; $50,000 for 60 games pitched; $50,000 for 65 games pitched; $50,000 for 70 games pitched; $50,000 for 70 innings pitched; $50,000 for 75 innings pitched; $50,000 for 80 innings pitched. Plus: $50,000 for-All Star; $100,000 for World Series MVP; $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $100,000 for Rolaids ($75,000-2nd; $50,000-3rd); $25,000 for Gold Glove.
- Antonio Bastardo. $1.4 million. Plus: $25,000 for All-Star; $50,000 for World Series MVP; $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $50,000 for Rolaids ($25,000-2nd; $15,000-3rd).
- Yuniesky Betancourt. Minor League contract for $18,000 per month. Agreement for Major League contract for $150,000. $900,000 in Majors. Plus: $25,000 for 50 games; $25,000 for 60 games; $25,000 for 70 games; $25,000 for 80 games; $50,000 for 90 games; $50,000 for 100 games; $50,000 for 110 games; $50,000 for 120 games; $100,000 for 130 games; $100,00 for 140 games. Plus: $25,000 for All-Star; $50,000 for MVP; $50,000 for World Series MVP; $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $25,000 for Gold Glove. If not on the Major League roster on March 24, player will be released if requested. Major League invitation to Spring Training.
- Aaron Cook. Minor League contract for $18,000 per month. Agreement for Major League contract for $150,000. $1.625 million in Majors. Plus: $325,000 for 10 games started; $325,000 for 15 games started; $400,000 for 20 games started; $475,000 for 25 games started; $475,000 for 30 games started. Plus: $50,000 for All-Star; $100,000 for World Series MVP; $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $100,000 for Rolaids or Cy Young ($75,000-2nd; $50,000-3rd). Major League invitation to Spring Training.
- Juan Cruz. Minor League contract for $18,500 per month. Agreement for Major League contract for $180,000. $1 million in Majors. Plus (for each as pitcher): $50,000 for 40 games; $50,000 for 45 games; $75,000 for 50 games; $75,000 for 55 games; $100,000 for 60 games; $100,000 for 65 games. Plus: $25,000 for All-Star; $50,000 for World Series MVP; $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $50,000 for Rolaids or Cy Young ($25,000-2nd; $15,000-3rd). If not on 25-man roster on June 1, player will be released for spot on another club’s roster. Major League invitation to Spring Training.
- Zach Collier. $39,900. $490,000 in Majors.
- Tyson Gillies. $79,900. $490,000 in Majors.
- Erik Kratz. $208,967. $496,000 in Majors.
- Darin Ruf. $79,900. $490,000 in Majors.
- Joe Savery. $168,133. $490,000 in Majors.
- Matt Tolbert. Minor League contract for $15,000 per month. Agreement for Major League contract for $90,000. $575,000 in Majors.
First full-squad workout is a week from today.
The Phillies announced today they have signed infielder Yuniesky Betancourt to a Minor League contract.
The deal includes an invitation to big-league camp in Clearwater, Fla.
“Just to give us some depth,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “I think that some competition for one of the utility spots. We have Freddy (Galvis) and (Kevin) Frandsen who have a chance to be on the club and so does Yuni. He’s got some experience and background. We’ll see how it goes. It gives us some depth.”
Betancourt, 30, hit .228 with 14 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 36 RBIs in 57 games last season with the Kansas City Royals. He played 46 games at second base, eight at third base and one at shortstop. He hit .308 with eight doubles, seven home runs and 22 RBIs in 26 games in Winter Ball in Mexico.
Betancourt provides the organization additional infield depth. If healthy, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young will be the Phillies’ everyday infielders. Frandsen, who hit .338 with an .834 OPS in 55 games last season, and Galvis, who is a defensive whiz, are the favorites to come off the bench.
“I am sort of anxious to see him work out and play and stuff,” Charlie Manuel said of Betancourt. “You know, I have always liked his tools. I think that with the talent that he has, going into spring training, it gives us more competition.”
Also in camp as Non-Roster Invitees are infielders Josh Fields, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez, Andres Blanco and Cody Asche.
In 1,019 games in the big leagues with Seattle, Kansas City and Milwaukee, Betancourt has hit .266 with a .290 on-base percentage, .392 slugging percentage and .682 OPS.