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February 3, 2014

Transaction Analysis

Ain't Nothin' But Hammels

by R.J. Anderson and Bret Sayre


IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

TAMPA BAY RAYS
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Signed INF-S Wilson Betemit to a minor-league deal. [1/31]

The past 16 months haven't been kind to Betemit. Torn cartilage in his wrist sidelined him late in 2012, and a knee injury suffered last spring delayed his comeback attempt. When Betemit did return to the field, the Orioles gave him 10 plate appearances before moving on. Now Betemit will try again with the Rays. It's a smart move for him; under hitting coach Derek Shelton, the Rays have revitalized the careers of Casey Kotchman, Jeff Keppinger, James Loney, and others. Ponce De Leon never found the fountain of youth in Florida—perhaps because Tropicana Field wasn't built yet.

Betemit's plight differs from those, as his is borne from injuries, not poor performance. Although he's a nominal switch-hitter, he's only useful against right-handed pitchers; likewise, he's played across the diamond in the past, though asking him to play a stressing position nowadays is a bad idea. That's okay, the Rays and their versatile roster could use the added offensive depth in case Matt Joyce—who, for the moment, figures to serve as designated hitter most days—disappears for a chunk of the season again. At worst, Joe Maddon can use Betemit to pinch-hit for Jose Molina and other feeble right-handed hitters late in games. There's just one catch: he has to remain healthy first. —R.J. Anderson

Fantasy

Wilson Betemit

There has been a long line of fantasy players who have bet on Wilson Betemit in deep leagues and been hugely disappointed. This year is unlikely to be any different. At this point in his career, the best version of himself is likely 80-85 percent of Matt Joyce--who unfortunately sits ahead of him on the depth chart. He may be worth a dollar in AL-only leagues if it looks like he'll make the 25-man roster because in the event of an injury, Joe Maddon could shift players around enough to get Betemit a couple hundred at bats. Bret Sayre

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Scoping... (02/03)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (01/31)
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