To say that Brewers nation is fed up with Yuniesky Betancourt would be like saying drugs made Lindsay Lohan less attractive. It's a gross understatement and it doesn't even tap the surface of what's really going on and what people are thinking. People are tired of Yuni and his bad throws and his one pitch at-bats and everything else he can't seem to do right. There are people who'd prefer to see Josh Wilson and Craig Counsell out there everyday instead of Yuni and it's hard to blame them for it. People want change.
Of course, Josh Wilson and Craig Counsell are not the answer. As nice as they have been as fill-ins they are still just that. Take away Josh Wilson's two early homeruns and his numbers don't look so good. Also, he doesn't wear sunglasses. Craig Counsell, as great as he is, cannot play everyday. The Brewers need a starting shortstop that can start every game and be a positive contributor to the team. Let's try and figure out what the options are and see what (if anything) the Brewers can do about the Yuni situation.
We'll start by taking a look at where the Brewers stand among National League teams at the shortstop position.
(Remember when people wondered if Alcides Escobar was a better prospect than Starlin Castro?)
As you can see, despite Yuni's issues Brewers' shortstops still rank solidly in the middle and are almost league average at the position. So maybe things aren't as bad as they seem. (Then again OPS doesn't account for defense so maybe they are.)
Before we go any further let me just say that the Brewers are not going to trade for Jose Reyes. It's just not going to happen. I am more likely to get under 300 pounds and move out of my parents basement than the Brewers are to get Jose Reyes. It's unlikely he'll be traded and if he is it's going to be for a bigger package than the Brewers gave up for Zack Greinke. The Brewers don't have that so let's just promise to never talk about it again, okay?
So removing Jose Reyes from the equation three names have come up repeatedly.
Rafael Furcal,, Jamey Carrol and Clint Barmes.
I'm eliminating Furcal right off the bat for injury/washed up-ness. It's a bad idea and the chance of it working it is so slim that it's not worth it. It'd be like sleeping with someone that has herpes. Sure, there's a chance you won't get it, but why take the risk? So no Furcal. Deal with it.
Defensively, they are all upgrades. There is no arguing that. While neither of them is exactly Ozzie Smith they both would be big upgrades over Yuniesky Betancourt. Yuniesky Betancourt plays shortstop like Casey Anthony babysits.
Offensively? Let's see.
Yuni YTD: .252/.272/.371
Barmes YTD: .250/.318/.387
Carroll YTD: .288/.360/.355
I think it's safe to say that they've both played quite a bit better than Yuni so far this season and the Brewers would have been better off with either one of them, but that's not what we're looking for. We don't care how they played on their old teams. We want to know how they are going to play on ours for the rest of the season if we trade for them. Let's check out what ZiPS projects them at for the rest of the season.
Yuni ZiPS: .268/.290/.404
Barmes ZiPS: .245/.305/.390
Carroll ZiPS: .272/.342/.324
In a strange twist, none of them are going to hit much better than Yuni should. Yuni is probably going to hit better actually. Huh.
While we're here I'd like to make the argument that offensively Yuni hasn't been that bad outside of a really bad May. Nobody mentions this because it's Yuni and grrr I hate him and what do you expect am I right, but it's true. In fact, the last two months he has been pretty damn good.
If Yuni can keep hitting like he has the last two months, suddenly the Brewers have top 5 production from the shortstop postion. If Prince Fielder has taught us anything it's that top 5 production goes a long way. That's a big if, but I think it's one that Doug Melvin is counting on. Shortstop is a premium position and even someone like Clint Barmes is going to take a decent prospect and that's not something I see the Brewers willing to give up for such a minimal upgrade. Especially this late in the season when the upgrade is unlikely to be worth a single win.
Should the Brewers trade for one of these two? Of course! Have you seen Yuni play defense? It's like one great play/two lazy ones/three okay/four awful/one good/fall asleep on field/rinse and repeat. If the Brewers make the playoffs I will never stop worrying that he's going to ruin it. The Brewers could be up 12 in the 9th of game 7 in the World Series and as long as he was wearing a glove I'd be worried. He's just... Yuni, you know?
Will they trade for one of these two? I doubt it.