The Detroit Tigers just announced they have acquired 29-year-old Royals third baseman Wilson Betemit from the Kansas City Royals. The Royals are receiving pitcher Antonio Cruz from Class A West Michigan and catcher Julio Rodriguez from Advanced-A Lakeland. Tigers say he will join the team for the Twins series.
Betemit's traditional stats first: .281 average, .341 on-base percentage, .401 slugging average.
For the saber crowd: .322 wOBA and 101 wRC+ (100 is average).
And Betemit's stats this year are actually down from last season.
Just to compare to Inge, Betemit's batting average and on-base percentage this season is .100 better and his slugging is .160 better. Inge's wRC+ was 33. So yeah. But you didn't need me to tell you Betemit was a big step up. That much was obvious.
Following up on a comment in our comment section, Betemit, a switch-hitting batter, does have splits that show he hits left-handed pitchers a lot better this year: average and OBP of about 70 points higher, and slugging about 200 points higher. However his splits the previous two seasons showed that he didn't have a lot of problems, so this is a rather recent occurrence. If necessary, I could see some sort of platoon with Don Kelly. That's probably not how the team's first approach, and hopefully it won't be necessary.
The defensive edge goes to Inge of course. He may not be the Gold Glove caliber Inge of old, but he's still about average. Betemit's UZR has been below average almost every season he's played the position. If Defensive Runs Saved is more your stat, Betemit is about on par with Inge this year. Of course, we should keep in mind it's a rather small sample. Looking at the Fan's Scouting Report for Betemit reveals below average instincts, below average hands, below average arm power and accuracy. Either fans were really ticked off -- Jhonny Peralta's fan scouting report looked similar in Cleveland -- or the infield defense just got worse. There sure are a lot of photos of Betemit not making the play when I search the archives of SB Nation, anyway.
Comparing WAR, Inge is at -0.9 for the season while Betemit is at just 0.4. A rather big improvement, comparatively speaking, but not the best third baseman in the world either.
Finally, salary issues. Betemit is on a one-year deal that doesn't pay him that much.
So my quick summary of this trade: It's exactly what I expected. I didn't have any names for you; and I don't remember anyone bringing up Betemit's name. But this is the kind of veteran acquisition you expect the team to make. It didn't cost much. Neither Cruz (stats) nor Rodriguez (stats) were remotely close to the organization's best trade chips. It makes the lineup quite a bit better. Defense is going to suffer a bit, but the effect on run differential ought to be a positive one. I like it.