With the signing of Wilson Betemit, the Orioles seem to have found their DH for 2012.
That is a statement made with tongue firmly in cheek but it's not as crazy as you might think. To beat the rotting horse's corpse that I love so well:
AVG OBP SLG OPS G WAR 2009-2011 Betemit .284 .354 .467 .821 201 1.5 2009-2011 Guerrero .295 .332 .458 .790 397 2.5
The signing of Vladimir Guerrero at this time last year was hailed as filling a gaping hole at DH for the O's. Betemit will surely do no worse.
Especially if he's deployed in the correct way. If Betemit is the DH against righties (.817 career OPS against RHP) and, say, Mark Reynolds gets the bulk of DH starts against lefties (.882 career OPS against LHP) with scattered DH at bats for Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold and others, that doesn't seem to be a bad solution to improve production from that spot in the lineup.
Betemit is billed as a utility infielder but honestly, he's never been a great fielder. Imagine a tick or two below Ty Wigginton and you'll get an idea of what he will look like in the field this season. While he will get some starts int he field, the Orioles will be wise to have him serve primarily as a DH and a pinch hitter. (And as unorthodox as that may sound, I believe that is exactly the plan for him.)
Nor does Betemit create any kind of roster crowding or crisis. The projected members of the roster, position players only, assuming a 12-man pitching staff.
C Matt Wieters Taylor Teagarden IF Chris Davis J.J. Hardy Mark Reynolds Robert Andino Matt Antonelli Ryan Flaherty Wilson Betemit OF Endy Chavez Nolan Reimold Adam Jones Nick Markakis
This assumes that Flaherty makes the roster at all (no guarantee of that) and I am certainly not counting on Brian Roberts playing for Baltimore in 2012. If Flaherty does not remain with the MLB club, there would be room for Ryan Adams or a resurrected Roberts. This move may signal that a trade is in the works but I hardly think it's necessary based on the current construction of the club.
And considering the price Betemit signed for ($3.25M for 2 years), the 30-year old is virtually a slam dunk to be a good return on investment. (OK, the 2-year commitment was a little weird...) But this signing, if he is to be used the way I expect, makes way more sense and gives the team way more flexibility than the Guerrero and Derrek Lee signings of last offseason.