Sometimes it’s fun to say “I told you so.”
Now, no one wants to read a punk blogger who goes around trying to act like he could run a major league team. So I don’t want to go there.
But after writing five articles in the past year and a half about how the Royals butchered any chance of having a useful utility infielder on their team, they finally parted ways with the primary antagonist in the saga – Yuniesky Betancourt.
Any feelings of vindication are of no use, however. The situation is worse than ever. Say what you want about the team’s attachment to Jeff Francoeur, it’s inability to successfully trade for starting pitchers, or its many other shortcomings. In my mind the bungling of the utility infielder role stands as the most inept series of moves on Dayton Moore’s resume in KC.
But when the Royals sent Mike Aviles packing, abandoned Yamaico Navarro, and relegated Johnny Giavotella to the minors, it became apparent that Ned Yost was putting a lot of eggs in the Betancourt basket.
“Perhaps I don’t see what the trained baseball eye sees in Betancourt,” I kept thinking. Surely there is more to this guy than a slow, lazy, hot dog who hits into double plays at the worst possible times. Otherwise Moore and Yost wouldn’t keep running him out there.
Well I guess I was right and they were wrong. The Royals gave Betancourt the boot last week and it was none too soon for my taste.
Obviously there was some reason why the Brewers let him go when they had no other real option at shortstop. They must have felt they were better off with no shortstop than a malcontent at shortstop.
Now, while the utility situation in KC seems even more mismanaged than ever, perhaps there is hope. At present, the Royals are running 27-year-old Tony Abreu out as their utility man. Previously, they tried 29-year-old Irving Falu in the role, with some success. But there’s a reason it’s taken those guys as long as it did to reach the majors.
The long-term answer may be a year away in Christian Colon. He’s not impressed anyone so far. He’s 23 years old and was barely adequate at his stops in Single and Double A. Improvement this season, his second at Northwest Arkansas, finally earned Colon a promotion to Triple A Omaha, two days after Betancourt was designated for assignment.
Though drafted as a shortstop, Colon has been used extensively at both short and second for the past year, as it appears the Royals are grooming for a versatile role. He told me a year ago, that he had some experience at third in the amateur ranks, but at that point, he wasn’t anticipating a switch from short.
Though you’d like to get more out of the number four draft pick KC used on Colon, it may not turn out all bad. The guy’s bio just sounds like a utility infielder: consummate team player, unselfish, a leader, solid in all areas, but spectacular in none of them.
Colon has garnered little fan interest since his drafting. But with Betancourt gone, he will be getting a lot more attention as he becomes the team’s best option for the utility role.