The Royals were in dire need of a utility infielder. They did not have to look far to find one.
Yuniesky Betancourt and the Royals agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract with incentives. If Betancourt can become a full-time player, he could be paid $2.5 million next season.
Betancourt, 29, spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Royals. In that time, he batted .253 with 20 home runs and 105 RBIs in 222 games played. Betancourt spent that time as a shortstop and has only seen nine games at second base in his seven-year career.
Alcides Escobar is slated to be the Royals’ starting shortstop in 2012, as manager Ned Yost reportedly plans to play him 150-plus games in the position. Johnny Giavotella and Chris Getz will be battling for the second base position in training camp. According to Royals General Manager Dayton Moore, Betancourt has a better opportunity to overtake the starting role at second base, despite his inexperience at the position.
"He will require a lot of repetition [at second base] during Spring Training,” Moore said in a conference call Tuesday. “But he has been a middle infielder his whole career. The skill set is one where we feel comfortable allowing him to play multiple positions on the interior of the diamond."