Yuni Betancourt open to offers at SS, 2B
Brewers free agent Yuniesky Betancourt is drawing interest from clubs both as a shortstop — the position he’s manned exclusively since 2006 — and as a second baseman, agent Jaime Torres said Tuesday.
Betancourt was an everyday second baseman in his native Cuba and debuted in the Major Leagues with the Mariners at that position in 2005 before switching to shortstop. Two clubs are intrigued by the idea of using Betancourt at second base, according to Torres, and two others, including, presumably, the Brewers, are interested in him as a shortstop.
“He played second base in Cuba and enjoyed playing there,” Torres said. “He’s not one of those shortstops who’s afraid to go to another position.”
Betancourt, acquired from the Royals last year along with right-hander Zack Greinke, was a lightning rod all season for his subpar defense and inconsistent offense. He batted .252 with 13 home runs and 68 RBIs for the Brewers in 2011 and started 146 games at shortstop.
The Brewers have a hole at that position since declining Betancourt’s $6 million option after the World Series in order to test the market. They had interest in free agent Clint Barmes, who instead signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Pirates, and have also met with representatives for Jimmy Rollins, Rafael Furcal and Alex Gonzalez while keeping open the door for Betancourt to return.
The Brewers have no known offers out to a shortstop. General manager Doug Melvin spoke briefly with Torres on Sunday but as of Tuesday afternoon they had not met since.
Torres declined to say whether any clubs had extended a formal offer to Betancourt but said he wouldn’t be surprised to have a deal by the conclusion of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.
– Adam McCalvy