Releasing Betancourt the right move for the Phillies
by Scott Butler 3/26/13

Yuniesky Betancourt finished his Phillies Spring Training with a .447 average (21 for 47) in 51 plate appearances. From 2007-11, only Derek Jeter played more games at shortstop than Betancourt (thanks Matt Gelb). Yet the Phillies let him walk without so much as a bag of doughnuts in return. Yes, and it was absolutely the right move.

Betancourt had a productive spring and that is nice for him. Yeah, well Ben Francisco parlayed a 2011 spring average of .361 into a .244 average during the season and he was gone by the next year. That is just a random player sample but it shows that spring stats oftentimes mean next to nothing.

Call me crazy, but I would rather base my baseball decisions on 1,019 regular season games than 18 Grapefruit League games.  The result is a player who, since 2009, has the lowest on-base percentage in baseball (.275), fourth lowest OPS (.658), and has the second worst fielding value among infielders (-41.3) according to Fangraphs.

Betancourt would have offered the Phillies some depth, but in order to make room for him they would have needed to bring three extra infielders north (Frandsen, Galvis, and Betancourt) and only one extra outfielder. Betancourt also could have earned as much as $1.4 million, which is almost double what Frandsen is making ($850,000) and a hefty sum for a utility man.

The move worked out well for both sides. The Phillies can now ensure more playing time for Galvis and Frandsen, they won't have to gamble with just one backup outfielder, and they will save some money in the process. For Betancourt, well, he already landed himself a job with the Brewers.

All in all, you don't have to lose any sleep without Yuniesky Betancourt in a Phillies uniform.

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