Royals Add Yuniesky Betancourt To Stable Of Exciting Young Youngsters

KANSAS CITY, MO: Yuniesky Betancourt #3 of the Kansas City Royals is greeted by Jason Kendall #18 after hitting a 2-run home run against the Detroit Tigers during the season opener at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)

Sometimes you just don't have a choice.

Sometimes, the Prodigal Son must return.

At 48, Phil Niekro returned to the Braves for one last start before retiring.

Junior Griffey returned to Seattle for one last go-around with the Mariners.

After more than a decade away, Willie Mays returned to New York for his swan song.

Rickey Henderson still hasn't rejoined the Athletics ... but we keep hoping.

And there's Yuniesky Betancourt.

In 2008, the Kansas City Royals saw something in Yuniesky Betancourt that nobody else saw, and so they traded for Betancourt and installed him as their every-day shortstop for the rest of that season. And the next season. The Royals didn't give up an awful lot to get Betancourt, nor did they pay him an awful lot.

In his season-and-a-half with the franchise, Betancourt batted .253/.282/.394, which isn't terrible for a shortstop. He also fielded terribly for a shortstop, which is terrible for a shortstop. The first real chance they had, the Royals traded him to the Brewers ... and sent along $2 million to help cover Betancourt's salary.

In Betancourt's defense, the Milwaukee Brewers won the National League Central title with Betancourt playing shortstop nearly every day. On the other hand, they cut him loose immediately after the season, making no effort to engage their division-winning shortstop for a return engagement.

They left that stroke of brilliance to the Kansas City Royals, who have signed Betancourt to a one-year contract.

Now, Betancourt's not slated for every-day duties. The Royals are set with young players at every infield position. But those young players do need guidance. They need guidance on not making plays at shortstop, not making plays at second and third base, not drawing walks or getting into good hitter's counts, and not always giving 110 percent. The Royals' young players will be the most well-tutored young players in the American League at those things.

So, kudos to general manager Dayton Moore on that account.

And gosh, we haven't even talked about all the season tickets that just got sold.

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