Some of us felt that Wilson Betemit was a risk worth taking. A guy that was signed because he had a lot of potential, has never lived up to it, and might flourish in Kansas City. And he rewarded the Royals with decent production while he was on the field. If you can look past his tremendous strikeout totals, you’ll find that Betemit posted an OPS 100 points higher than his career averages. But here is the sole purpose of Wilson Betemit on the Royals ball club.
That purpose? To delay the arbitration clock of Royals top prospect Mike Moustakas. That’s right. This is Chris Truby and Mark Teahan all over again. Except Wilson Betemit is already in house.
On November 10, 2004, the Royals signed the aforementioned Chris Truby for $360,000 to protect 3B prospect Mark Teahan and to keep him from starting the season in the Majors. Well, Truby broke his leg in spring training and Teahan was the opening day starter. The arbitration clock started.
In the case of Moustakas, if the Royals can delay his Super Two status by not allowing him to come up until June, they’ll earn an extra year of team control and save a little more cash. And this will keep the core of the future together perhaps one season longer. It’s a great deal for the Royals, but for Mike Moustakas and the Player’s Agency, it delays his arbitration and costs him more money in the long run. This is one of those gray areas that teams dabble in all the time but never admit too.
With Wilson’s success, the Royals will be able to offer a good explanation as to why Betemit plays April and May at 3B before being sat down for the future of the franchise. When Moustakas gets called up, he might never go back down. And if he doesn’t get called up until after early June, Super Two doesn’t apply to him. Congratulations Wilson, you are now the savior for the savior. Wear that title proudly!
And who knows? Perhaps Betemit will start out on fire like when he started playing last year.