Yuni in a Brewers Uni
By Lou Olsen
Let’s all take a second and realize that we have Zack Greinke on our roster for the next two years.
Now that we have taken care of that, let’s move on to our other new Brewer. Whenever you are “the other guy” in a huge trade, it is easy to get swept under old man Johnson’s rug. It seems like the other player we acquired, Yuniesky Betancourt, is nothing more than an after thought. Having said that, I want to give everyone a little insight into our new starting Shortstop.
For those of you who follow the blog, you already know that I live in Seattle. If you didn’t know that……..well, now you know. I moved to Seattle in November of 2006 and had the luxury of watching Mr. Betancourt roam Safeco field with the Seattle Mariners for 2 and a half seasons. Here is what I know about Yuniesky Betancourt.
— In the two plus seasons I was able to see him play, he was a very solid hitter. In four full seasons with the Mariners, his worst OBP was a .296. Now, what is really impressive about that number is that the kid doesn’t take very many walks. In fact, the most walks he’s ever had was the 23 he racked up this past season in Kansas City. He also does not strike out very often either, 276 career strikeouts in 2,890 at bats. Now when he was in Seattle, Yuni was never known as a Home Run hitter. Last year however, he had 16 dingers and 78 RBI’s. To put that into perspective, he only hit 24 HR’s in his entire 4 plus years with the Mariners. Yuniesky is a solid complimentary bat to our already beefy middle of the lineup.
— As for his defense, he is more than servicable. He does have the ocassional brain fart, but it is certainly not something that should make us concerned. His arm is not the strongest in the league, but it also isn’t the weakest. In his time with the Mariners, he showed an incredible amount of range going to his left and his right. There are some people who are concerned that this is a down grade from Escobar, but that is just not so. He is a nice complimentary piece for our infield.
On a side note, in his last few weeks in Seattle questions began to rise about his work ethic. People in Seattle seemed to think that he was more than happy to “phone it in”. What you have to realize is that the Mariners have been a team with no direction since Lou Pinella left. I have every confidence that our new coach, Ron Roenicke, will not tolerate any kind of slacking. Plus, when you are playing on a contending team your attitude makes a major shift. If any of those old tendencies flare up, I am sure that management will handle the problem.
Ok, now for the opinion portion of this article. In all honesty, this trade could not be much better for the Brewers. Escobar just was not what we thought he would be. His glove was adequate and his bat was……..bad. By letting Alcides go we get a Cy Young pitcher and a pretty decent shortstop. How could we possibly be disappointed with this deal? Doug Melvin realized at the winter meetings that he was not going to be able to trade Prince for what he is worth. So, he did the only sensible thing and went for broke. Melvin also knew that by acquiring Betancourt, that if it didn’t work out this year he would not have to bring him back in 2012. Betancourt is a solid veteran player who will give the bottom of our lineup a little extra pop.
This deal could come back to bite us some day, and no one knows that more than me. When the Crew made the playoffs in 2008, it was the first time they had been there in my lifetime. I was born in 1983, just one year after our only World Series appearance. The feeling I had in 2008 somehow made up for the Richie Sexson and Jeff Cirillo years. It made me forget the days of Kevin Seiter and Mark Loretta. If giving up some young players who show “potential” means that I get that feeling back. Then I have to embrace it with every fiber of my being.
Until next time, Merry Christmas Brewers fans.(This is way better than when we signed Jeff Suppan on Christmas Eve).