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Trade Deadline Recap: Tigers Acquire Betemit

August 1, 2011

Wilson Betemit has seen a career resurgence since joining the Kansas City Royals. Initially he was brought in to provide some depth and versatility, but soon he found himself getting most of the starts at third base. Since the start of the 2010 season Betemit has batted .290/.362/.468 in 479 at bats. He’s primarily been playing third base, but has seen time at both second base and shortstop as well. All along, however, it was widely expected that he was merely a placeholder until top prospect Mike Moustakas was ready to be promoted to the Majors – a day which came in May, meaning Betemit has been expendable since.

Fans of the Detroit Tigers have seen Brandon Inge’s name in the team’s lineup at one position or another since 2001 but this year he has struggled at the plate to the worst offensive season of his career. Through 215 at bats he’s batted a mere .177/.242/.242 while striking out nearly once per game. The poor performance resulted in the veteran being designated for assignment mid July.

With Inge trying to find his swing at Triple-A, the Tigers needed an infielder capable of playing third on a regular basis. Someone versatile enough to handle another spot in the infield would be ideal. So, on July 20 the two teams agreed upon a deal which sent Betemit to Detroit in exchange for a pair of High-A prospects, catcher Julio Rodriguez and left handed pitcher Antonio Cruz.

Rodriguez, 21, was batting .283/.325/.354 in 226 at bats and projects mainly as a defensive minded backup catcher according to Baseball America. Cruz, 19, began the season working out of the rotation but after a 1-5 record and 3.59 ERA through 10 starts he was moved to the bullpen where his peripheral stats (mainly his K/9 going from 6.1 to 9.7) have improved.

Betemit should see his fair share of playing time between now and September 1st when rosters can expand as he’s the most capable third baseman on the Tigers current roster. According to MLBTR he had been pursued by the Angels, Brewers, and Marlins at various points over the past six weeks but clearly the Royals felt the pair of players offered by Detroit was the best offer on the table.

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