The Baltimore Orioles and 30 year old utility infielder Wilson Betemit have agreed on a two year contract, with a vesting option for 2014. The dollar figures attached to these terms haven’t been announced yet, but it’s expected that they’d fall in line with the money that other free agent middling infielders that signed two year contracts have received.

These are the types of contracts that those types of players have signed for this off season:

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks signed John McDonald for $3 million over two years.
  • The Miami Marlins signed Greg Dobbs for $3 million over two years.
  • The Boston Red Sox signed Nick Punto for $3.5 million over two years.
  • The Arizona Diamondbacks signed Willie Bloomquist for $3.8 million over two years.
  • The Detroit Tigers signed Ramon Santiago for $4 million over two years.
  • The Minnesota Twins signed Jamey Carroll for $6.75 million over two years.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Mark Ellis for $8.75 million over two years.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Clint Barmes for $10.5 million over two years.
  • The Arizona Diamondbacks signed Aaron Hill for $11 million over two years.

Despite an .838 OPS over the last two years, Betemit’s salary likely belongs close to the middle of this list. As great as his batting numbers may appear, his value is severely limited by two factors: 1) His enormous splits mean that he’s only really valuable when hitting against right handed pitching; and 2) his defensive abilities are equally awful no matter where he plays in the infield.

Nonetheless, Betemit was probably one of the best bats still available on the free agent market. And in this sense, I suppose the Orioles did well to pick him up. Unfortunately, like most of the Orioles’ off season additions over the last few years, you have to sit back and ask, “Why?”

Why invest that amount of money on rounding out the bench on a team that’s unlikely to finish anywhere other than fifth place in their division for the next couple of seasons?

Betemit is a good edition to any club, but he’s a much better fit on the type of club that’s going to be competing this season and needs that 23rd-25th player on their roster to be someone who can carry a big stick (at least against right handed pitching). On the Orioles though, Betemit joins three other players all capable of playing (and I use the term loosely) third base in Mark Reynolds, Chris Davis and Josh Bell.