Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Second Base Competition

From Bob Dutton's piece on Saturday:

The Royals re-acquired shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, by signing him as a free agent in December, to fill their need for a utility infielder. Betancourt isn’t likely to play much at short — Alcides Escobar started 156 games in 2011 — but he could wind up at second.
Betancourt could (become the starting second baseman),” general manager Dayton Moore said, “but I don’t think it will be on opening day. Giavotella would really have to struggle.”
The early line suggests Betancourt will back up either Giavotella or Getz with the other returning to Omaha. Don’t be surprised, if Giavotella struggles, if the job remains in flux throughout the summer.
“Second base is not a concern for me,” Yost said. “I think we’re well-covered there with Gio and Getzie.”

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/02/18/3438355/four-areas-to-watch-as-royals.html#storylink=cpy

I'm probably overreacting but I find the quotes by Moore and Yost disconcerting. It doesn't take much digging into the past to find players who struggled and were subsequently given up on. While I doubt any Royals fans are weeping over Kila Ka'aihue there a few of us still bitter over the treatment Justin Huber received (and I promise, I'm almost over it).

Of all the youngsters on the roster it'd shock no one to learn that Johnny Giavotella arrived at spring training with the shortest least. That's partially due to the .247/.273/.376 line he put last year but mostly due, I think, to managerial favorite Getz and general managerial favorite Betancourt. Giavotella struggled for sure after being promoted but his 77 OPS+ was better than both of his competitors (Yuni 75, Getz 68), and of the three, he's the only one with upside. So if I were to bet on which one would improve upon his 2011 production, well, I know where I would put my money.

Now maybe they could just be trying to motivate Giavotella but who really knows. I haven't seen similar comments made about Lorenzo Cain, who is just as big a question mark as Giavotella, and has a more than adequate backup in Mitch Maier.

I can understand the temptation to replace a struggling youngster in the midst of a pennant race (this was allegedly the reason for Kila's demotion if you recall) but inserting Yuni or Getz into the starting lineup would, at best, be a lateral move. At worst, it makes the offense weaker.


Tomorrow I'll be on 610 Sports from 10-11 AM along with Mike Engel and David Lesky. We'll be answering questions and texts in a roundtable discussion that will most likely not include any mentions of Grease 2 (but if it does I'll be ready). Non NW Missouri residents can listen in here.


  1. You even said it yourself that you are overreacting. I can't remember where the quote is, but I know DM said recently that it was Gio's spot to lose. Don't we want competition?

    What I dont get is people want to have competition, but are afraid of a little healthy competition. I know this is a moot point, but putting two and two together you are having competition because usually in some cases it is not defined who is better at all. Even as somebody as shitty as Betancourt can provide competition. Just because it is Betancourt doesn't mean everybody needs to get up in the arms about it.

  2. Just because it is Betancourt doesn't mean everybody needs to get up in the arms about it.

    I humbly disagree. If it was anybody but Yuni (and Getz) I would welcome the competition. My fear is that Gio's window will be small and he'll get demoted after about 100 plate appearances.

  3. "I humbly disagree. If it was anybody but Yuni (and Getz) I would welcome the competition."

    This proves exactly my point I was trying to make. People want competition, but flake out on Yuni. Like I said before players who are usually competing for spots are either not good at all or unestablished as players. (Yuni and Gio fit both of those categories separately.) You can't see past them as anything, but sucking and not very valuable.

    Some people don't get the definition of competition because they don't understand what it means. Comp can be good or bad. In this case probably a little of both.

    Why should Gio be a lock?? He is far from a lock. He has been working his arse of his whole life to get here and gone through so much with his height. I highly doubt somebody like Betancourt will cripple his chances.

    It seems bad to you because you are letting a shitty player into it, but think about this. What if Gio was given no comp?? It will benefit later more then now knowing he has to earn it. If you have shitty players and just pass over them then when it comes time (you know when we are trying to win)they aren't going to be prepared for that.

    The whole point of giving Gio competition is to benefit him later for future success. You can give a player comp or not, but making a player who projects to be average (Gio) will enable him to handle things in the future better.
    If he can't beat out Betancourt then he is not as mentally tough as people think.

    Royals fans expect close to .500 record the only way to do that is to push the players and not let them have a lax time.

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