Mariners trade SS Yuniesky Betancourt to the Royals for 1B Ryan Shealy
Why it makes sense for the Mariners: Bavasi and friends were in love with Yuni, and I was too when he first came up. However, he has shown a stunning lack of plate discipline that keeps him from becoming a very solid hitter. More troublesome is how much his defense has deteriorated though. Betancourt was horribly overrated by Bavasi and friends by the end of their tenure. He could conceivably be replaced by Tug Hulett, and Shealy would be a noticeable upgrade at first base.
Why it makes sense for the Royals: There are rumors that they are interested in Yuni Betancourt, and if they acquired him they would like shift Mike Aviles over to second base. Essentially, Betancourt would be replacing Mark Grudzielanek then. With the acquisition of Mike Jacobs, the Royals have a logjam at first base, and Shealy does not seem to fit in real well at this point.
Problems with the deal: Yuni has more pure talent than Shealy, and he plays a more premium position too. There still is a part of me that believes Betancourt could blossom into a darn good player, and all it might take is a little better player development. A Jack Zduriencik front office might provide the development that Betancourt needs. Basically, the problem is that this deal could potentially look bad for the Mariners if Betancourt develops into the type of player most thought he would be.
It is still a deal worth exploring and considering though, mostly because I am no longer sold on Yuni Betancourt as a long-term solution at shortstop. Furthermore, I believe Tug is capable of replacing Yuni's contributions the last couple seasons, and I like that Tug is much more patient at the plate. If Yuni is replacable from within the organization, and he is not a long-term solution, it makes sense to use him as a trade chip to acquire other talent that will improve the team.