Yuniesky Betancourt never had to fight for a job before 2012. As a member of the Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals, and Milwaukee Brewers, Betancourt usually entered camp as the team's starting shortstop. Just one season for the Royals as a part-time player and Betancourt had to fight for a roster stop. This year he put up a fight - and a good one - but still could not earn a roster spot. The Phillies released Betancourt in time for his contractual deadline today.
Yuneisky Betancourt used to be a solid baseball name. Before the Phillies signed Jimmy Rollins to a contract extension prior to the 2011 season both the Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers may have seen Betancourt as the perfect backup plan if they could not sign Jimmy Rollins. Rollins returned to the Phillies and the Brewers signed Betancourt.
No one can argue with the Spring Training performance Betancourt has put forth. In 17 games, Betancourt hit .447 with one home run and 14 RBI. Though mostly used as a shortstop, Betancourt played 43 games at second base for the Royals and eight at third base in 2012. However, Betancourt earned his release back in August not because of a lack of talent, but because he was viewed by Royals management as a selfish player.
Upon Betancourt's release, Royals manager Ned Yost said it was Betancourt's complaining about playing time that led to his ouster:
In order for us to get over the hump, we have to have 25 guys that are solely invested in one goal, and that's turning this organization around to become a champion. That's it. It's not about, 'How much do I play?' It's not about, 'Do I have a job?'
This is about 25 guys with one goal: That we're going out to try to win this baseball game tonight, and you have that goal night in, night out. Anybody else that's not on page with that, we will never change our culture.
The Phillies showed that they were at least considering keeping both utility infielders Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen along with Betancourt on Saturday when Galvis made his debut in right field for the Phillies. They will keep looking or Inciarte will have at least a temporary job.