The Philadelphia Phillies released shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt on Sunday, March 24th. Last year for the Kansas City Royals Betancourt was not very effective, he batted .228 BA/.256 OBP /.400 SLG. However, the 31 year old infielder was off to a tremendous start in the Phillies red pinstripes, hitting .447/.451/.574.
With spring training splits that encouraging it should be a no brainer that the team would keep him, right? Wrong. The Philadelphia Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said to reports that “[releasing Betancourt] was a very difficult decision, he played great for us. We had some other guys feel great, and we’re comfortable with where we are as far as those players are concerned.”
Amaro is of course referring to Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis, whom both had respectable springs in their own right (Galvis .288/ .309/ .545/ 2 HR/ 8 RBI, Frandsen .286/ .310/ .518/ 2 HR /7 RBI).
The reasoning for the move was simple; though Betancourt hit like a madman during spring, his statistics will certainly level out (career batting average of .266). Also, he was due more money than Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis earn combined. His age, defense (always ranked negatively in fielding metrics) and likely regression at the plate made it illogical for the Phillies to keep him, while holding similar pieces that earn less money.
Betancourt will likely find a job now that he’s been released, according to mlbtraderumors.com the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, and Milwaukee Brewers may have interest in the veteran.