Or the fan of any of the small market team that hasn’t had success in a while. It’s a steep hole to dig out of.
When I saw that the Royals had signed Yuniesky Betancourt for a second stint, my initial reaction was, “What are they thinking?!? Haven’t they already seen enough of him to never make that mistake again?”
On further investigation, I realized that its actually not such a bad move for the Royals after all. According to fangraphs, Betancourt’s performance was worth $3.7 million in 2010 and $2.3 million last season.
The Royals are reported to have signed Yuniesky for one year at $2 million with another $500,000 in performance bonuses. That’s right in line with his recent past performance and really a bargain for a player who played regularly the last two seasons.
I realize that this is the kind of move bad small market teams feel they have to make. They have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find the best available player they can get to sign for the very limited money they have to spend, particularly if they don’t have enough depth in the high minors to fill the hole internally.
The only hope for the Royals and their long-suffering fans is that all the great young talent they’ve been able to draft the last few seasons finally develops to its full potential at roughly the same time before they all escape via free agency and that fill-ins like Betancourt play just well enough to allow the team to win in spite of themselves.
With only two winning seasons in the last twenty years, even an 82-win season would be cause for celebration in K.C. That’s reasonably doable in 2012, given their recent modest improvement in 2009 and 2010, even though Betancourt is unlikely to do much to make it happen.