More on the Yuni Trade
Most of us would be walking away from this one with smiles on our faces just because we rid ourselves of the enigma that is Yuniesky Betancourt. Itâ€™s a little odd that we also happen to be trading him to a team with a history of shortstop enigmas, and in a city with a storied barbecue scene to boot, but while Royals fans will be left to puzzle over the aftermath, we came out pretty good even with the cash sent their way.
Daniel Cortes was a seventh-round pick of the White Sox in 2005 out of a California high school, and has a legitimate arm that regularly sits in the low-90s and can hit the mid-90s. The middle of the plate, however, proves to be problematic for him as his walk rate is consistently between three and four+ for his career. On top of that, heâ€™s had a weak season in which his command has been even worse than usual, with more walks and fewer Ks. He doesnâ€™t have much of a change-up and has some trouble with left-handers stemming from that, but his curveball grades quite nicely and heâ€™s still only twenty-two, and pitching in double-A. If he isnâ€™t a starter, he could be a worthy reliever if they get the kinks ironed out. Commenter Slurve also found an old story that would suggest that his overall makeup is pretty good too.
Derrick Saito will be regarded by some as a throw-in, being a 5â€™9 lefty with college experience who is merely putting together some good numbers in the Midwest League, but I wouldnâ€™t undersell him. When he was relieving in college, he could hit 97 mph on the gun, and offset this with a curveball that ranked among the best in the conference. He has all the pitches to start, itâ€™s just a question of durability I suppose, but at worst, he could be an interesting left-on-left reliever. Southpaws donâ€™t hit him well, with just a .212 average against and extra-base hits that you could count on one hand. He strikes them out at a rate of 11.30 per nine, but his walk rate is over three and three-quarters, even after some significant improvements over last season.
Both arms have some issues, but they have upside. After all of the Mariners continued efforts over the years with Yuni, no one can say they didnâ€™t try with him. Whatever happens from here, Iâ€™m pleased with the haul we got.