OK, so I voiced a view on the Royals side of the big Zack Greinke swap, but what of the Brewers?
Well, clearly Greinke is a stud pitcher, and on a good team, could do well, especially with Yovanni Gallardo and Shawn Marcum behind him in the rotation. Randy Wolf is passable as a #4, but the jury is still out on Manny Parra.
Position-wise, the Brew Crew is in pretty good shape with this breakdown:
- C-Wil Nieves/George Kottaras
- 1B: Prince Fielder
- 2B: Rickie Weeks
- 3B: Casey McGehee
- SS: The Hated Yuniesky Betancourt
- LF: Ryan Braun
- CF: Carlos Gomez
- RF: Corey Hart
Now, save the backstop and center field spots, that is a pretty good and productive--and young--starting eight.
And, the NL Central is not that strong a division, so with that starting troika--Greinke, Gallardo, and Marcum--on the hill, and good position players, the Brewers could do ok. Save some bench strength (and, there are Jonathan Lucroy and Chris Naverson on that list).
However, in every piece I have seen written about this swap, poor Yuniesky Betancourt is just raked over the proverbial coals.
I actually did a Google search, in fact, asking why indeed Betancourt had such a poor rep. It seems as if he is lazy, or at least perceived as such as this blog piece from the USS Mariner:
"We’ve all watched first hand as Yuni has regressed from an athletic young player into a complete waste of space and time. His lack of hard work is nothing new – even after an offseason where he trained with Raul Ibanez, he showed up to camp as the same rotund non-athlete that he was at the end of last year. He’s getting worse at every facet of the game, and at this point, he’s not a major league player."
The thing is, Betancourt had his best year as a major leaguer in 2010. His average did drop to .259, but the shortstop easily had his career high in homers (16), banging one-third of his career total of 47 during that campaign. He also collected a career high 79 RBI, and though his OBP of .288 is not very good, his career total is .296.
And, though that is still not very good, Betancourt does get his stick on the ball, with just 276 whiffs over 810 games. Similarly, his .974 fielding percentage is his full season career best as well.
Now, I am not saying Betancourt is going to improve to Omar Vizquel-land (check out how much he improved) but hey, he certainly is not that bad. I also don't think Betancourt is a World Championship shortstop. But then no one thought Buddy Biancalana was either.