Unclench: Yuniesky Betancourt Likely Not on the Cubs’ Radar

relieved happy catWhen reports first surfaced – back around the time of the Winter Meetings – that the Cubs were considering Yuniesky Betancourt for their third base opening, I was a little nervous. At the time, I said I had a hard time believing the Cubs were considering him on anything more than a minor league deal, but the mere possibility that he was going to end up being “the guy” at third base was enough to make me uncomfortable.

Here were my initial thoughts:

Given that he has been hilarious offensively and terrible defensively over the past, well, entire career, it’s not surprising to learn that he’s got a negative WAR since 2009. Maybe a shift from shortstop to third base would help the defense, but that wouldn’t help the fact that he was so undesirable in the clubhouse that the Royals dumped him for nothing last August (his manager essentially called him out for being selfish). This has minor league deal/Spring Training invite written all over it. He’s not even a good platoon candidate.

Once the Cubs re-signed Ian Stewart, however, thoughts of Betancourt – even on a minor league deal – completely fell out of my head. Even if the Cubs did sign Betancourt, it would be to a mere no-risk minor league deal … so what? If it happens, fine, but it’s not worth freaking out about.

And then his agent started saying things like, “I can assure you that Yuni will be signing a Major League contract. Currently, there are four teams we are in conversations with and we expect to be finalizing a deal shortly after the holidays,” and I start to squirm once again.

But I can unclench. Maybe. A source tells Justin Bopp of MLB Daily Dish on SB Nation that the Cubs are no longer involved on Betancourt, and the Stewart re-signing was indeed the catalyst for their interest flagging. That is to say, the Cubs do not have interest in bringing Betancourt on board to compete at third base.

At this point, Betancourt is probably just looking for a utility job, and, since he doesn’t really rake against lefties (.722 OPS – better than against righties, but still not great) and can “play shortstop” in the sense that he’s played it terribly before, I’m not sure he’s the right guy for the Cubs. I suspect this might be the last we hear about Mr. Betancourt.

At least until he’s hitting a grand slam for the Cardinals against the Cubs or some such ridiculousness.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

28 responses to “Unclench: Yuniesky Betancourt Likely Not on the Cubs’ Radar”

  1. OkieCub

    LOVE that last sentence. It’s plausibility is what makes it so tragically funny.

  2. legen wait for it dary

    Yea i heard it t 2 finaly bye bye lovie.

  3. @cubsfantroy

    Just cause the numbers aren’t there, doesn’t mean that Betancourt isn’t the best SS to ever play the game. A little bit of a negative WAR and all of a sudden he is terrible. Geez, you are harsh Brett.

  4. legen wait for it dary

    I know this isn’t about baseball but her are nfl coaches i wouldnt mind having. Andy Reid,John Gruden,bill cower, and Norv Turner

    1. ssckelley

      Cowher maybe, the rest no way. Although I would have taken Turner as a offensive coordinator had Lovie stuck around.

    2. someday...2015?

      Chip Kelly(Oregon HC) would be my top choice. The tough part about getting a guy like Kelly is he runs a system that Cutler probably couldn’t handle. That would mean the Bears would most likely have to start a complete rebuild if their thinking of going in that direction… Oh I also agree on Cowher, he would be a great addition.

      1. King Jeff

        Yeah, I think Cowher would fit the culture and style of the Bears, but I don’t think ownership wants to give a coach control of personnel. That probably rules out Gruden and Cowher.

        Not a fan of Chip Kelly. I don’t see a lot of toughness out of his teams, and the last couple of offensive geniuses who have come to the pros as a head coach have failed miserably. I could see hiring him as a coordinator, but I don’t see him as a viable NFL head coach at this point.

        1. someday...2015?

          I see Kelly being successful with the right QB that fits his system.(Cam Newton, RG3, Russel Wilson) I couldn’t see Cutler ever running Kelly’s system. I honestly see Kelly going to Carolina to mold Cam into the superstar he can be.

          If he does go and coach Carolina… Watch out.

  5. Dingo

    Great news and hope you have a good great new years eve Brett

  6. DanielSon

    Haha great pic Brett; sums up my feelings about this news

  7. Crazryhorse

    That whole article could have beeen about Ian Stewart for many people.

  8. Kyle

    Sad thing is, we probably need a guy like him right now. Our infield depth is pretty absymal at the moment.

  9. terencemann

    There is never any reason to sign him. There are plenty of other players who can do what he does for cheaper. The Cubs don’t need a backup shortstop, either, so long as Barney is around. They could also call-up Lake.

  10. King Jeff

    So, if nothing else, Ian Stewart at least kept Betancourt from becoming a Cub?

  11. Ramy16

    I think the Cubs should sign Betancourt..instead of handing the job to Stewart! Make him work for it!

  12. Curt

    IF betancourt were hurt coming of tj surgery cubs would be all over him lol jk, he’s awful he makes Stewart look like the 2nd coming if mike Schmidt .

  13. Rizzo44

    That’s ok. I like Stewart for a little power.. but Betancourt was just awful at SS.. Let’s just wait for Baez:) (if not traded)

  14. ARCOLA

    LOVIE SMITH JUST GOT THE AXE

  15. someday...2015?

    Jay Glazer has reported that the Bears have already asked permission to talk to Mike McCoy(Bronco’s OC) That would be a great hire!!

    1. Kubphan82

      I’m not a Bear’s fan… Can’t stand Cutler… Think the Bears needed a new offensive line more than a new coach… And McCoy is a joke. In 2011, the Broncos may have won the AFC title, but it sure wasn’t the offense that got them there! And this year it’s on Peyton Manning for turning that team into something.

      We already saw what the Colts looked like with Caldwell minus Manning. Good luck with whoever gets McCoy…

      1. someday...2015?

        2 years ago the Broncos led the league in rushing with Tebow at the helm. They bring in Manning and change the system completely to Manning’s skill set. That’s tough to do as an OC. They are 5th in passing this year and still run the ball extremely well. They are also the #1 seed in the AFC. Oh and don’t forget about how they beat the Steelers in the playoffs with TEBOW at QB. A joke? The Broncos could of won a title with Tebow at QB? Really???

        1. Kubphan82

          Tampa Bay Buccaneers won a Superbowl with Trent Dilfer! The Broncos did win the AFC title last year, with Tebow. The Broncos are a product of defense and Manning… McCoy is the benefactor this year… Winning games this year as an offensive coordinator wasn’t nearly as difficult of a change as you want to glorify it to be, not with the change from Tebow to Manning.

          If McCoy is who you want, so be it, and good luck.

          1. someday...2015?

            Wow. First off, Dilfer won with the Ravens. Second of all the Patriots won the AFC title last year. If you’re going to comment on something about the NFL at least have some knowledge of it.

            1. Kubphan82

              Yes, I was wrong about the team Dilfer was on, nonetheless the won on defense and he was NOT a good QB. Second, I didn’t say the Bronco’s won the AFC title, I said Division title.

              Big deal, I got one team wrong even though it was the same overall example. You’re on a Cubs message board clamoring for McCoy… If you’re a fan, good luck with McCoy as I thought people may have learned from the Caldwell experience, you’d be better served with a Cowher, IMO.

  16. cheryl

    After a while it just seemed like the offensive line couldn’t protect anyone and the defense was getting older. The management under Lovie seemed disorganized. I never followed another team in place of the Bears I just stopped following the Bears. It became too difficult to watch them. Hope they start getting better.

  17. Picklenose

    From Fan Graphs, Ian Stewart is worth 1.3 runs above replacement, .1 wins above replacement. Luis Valbuena is worth 8.8 runs above replacement and .9 wins above replacement. Add to that – there are not any rumors about Valbuena being lazy or having a bad attitude, while there are such rumors about Stewart. Unless something changes, I think Ian Stewart will be Valbuena’s backup, not the other way around.

  18. Leo the Cub

    Go Colts! Maybe consider Bruce Arians as Bears head coach. He showed he can lead an NFL team this year.