The Phillies signed Yuniesky Betancourt, a light-hitting veteran middle infielder, to a minor-league deal Monday. He is invited to big-league spring training, where a chance at a bench job could await.
More than likely, Betancourt will simply provide depth if he agrees to a triple-A assignment. The 30-year-old has spent parts of eight seasons with Seattle, Kansas City and Milwaukee. He has not played in the minors since 2005, save for rehab assignments.
Of course, if the Phillies must rely on Betancourt for anything more than depth, they could be in deep trouble. Betancourt is an out-making machine who has not posted an OPS above .692 in five seasons.
Betancourt's career on-base percentage of .290 is 11th worst in the Expansion Era (since 1961) among players with at least 3,800 plate appearances.
He has played 949 career games at shortstop, and that's what sets him apart from much of the infield depth the Phillies will have in spring training. Kevin Frandsen, who signed for $850,000 guaranteed, cannot play shortstop. Freddy Galvis is the best defender there, but the Phillies could decide he's best suited playing every day at triple A.
Pete Orr, a camp invitee, has limited work at short. Michael Martinez can play there but has his own offensive liabilities. He'll be in camp, too. Andres Blanco was triple-A Lehigh Valley's shortstop in 2012 and he will also be in camp.
Betancourt made $2 million in 2012 but did not finish the season with Kansas City. He was released Aug. 14 and cleared waivers.