Betancourt was signed in the offseason to be a sort of utility player and a right-handed hitting option. The Royals said he’d only play a couple days a week to spell infielders, but after an injury to Chris Getz and with the Royals suspect of Johnny Giavotella‘s abilities, he started through most of June and July.
The Royals cited an unwillingness to accept his role, which had diminished with Chris Getz playing adequate baseball and left Betancourt on the bench more often. Nevermind that his WAR ranked him among the least valuable players in baseball.
That leaves the Royals with Chris Getz assuming the everyday second baseman job right now, and he’s running with it. He’s doing just what he needs to do, and that’s be okay. He’s hitting alright. He’s fielding alright. He’s not hurting anything. He’s the equivalent of oatmeal for breakfast. Sure you’d like the stack of pancakes, the bacon and eggs, but oatmeal, well, it’ll hold you over. My gut is to be upset about his playing time, but he’s effectively inert right now, and given the struggles of other players, Getz doesn’t deserve my complaints.
Now, it’s a waiting game to see when (if?) the Royals will call up Johnny Giavotella. Yes, he’s struggled in the majors so far, but the Royals haven’t committed much energy to finding out if their second round pick from 2008 can adjust and learn at the major league level. Maybe he never pans out, but what do they have to lose right now in the middle of August? I think that if they can give Betancourt TWO stints in Kansas City and can stick with Getz through the first mediocre 700 plate appearances of his Royals career, then they can at least let Giavotella have more than 260 to show that he might be able to handle the job.
Regardless, our best wishes to Betancourt. We’ll always remember the magic grand slam season of 2010, the sideways one-handed popup flubs and the statement “plus hands and plus hands“.