The Cleveland Indians are among teams showing interest in free agent third baseman Wilson Betemit, who played most recently with the Baltimore Orioles.
Comcast Sportsnet Baltimore’s Rich Dubroff reports the Indians and Atlanta Braves are interested in the 32-year-old versatile infielder.
All offseason, the Indians have been involved in a variety of rumors and news stories at the hot corner. Lonnie Chisenhall’s presence at third is the biggest weak spot of the lineup, so the Tribe has been looking for alternative options.
With Yan Gomes now entrenched as the everyday catcher, Carlos Santana brought up the idea of taking grounders at third. That experiment is currently going on in the Dominican Republic. And the team eventually added infielder David Adams to the 40-man roster from the Yankees organization. There also was interest in former backup Jamey Carroll. Backup Cord Phelps was scooped up by the Orioles after being DFA’d.
Betemit only played in six MLB games last year for the Orioles because of a knee injury and was later released in September. The switch-hitter proved valuable in the O’s surprising 2012 season, batting .261/.322/.422 in 102 games. For his career in 805 games over 11 seasons, he has a very solid .267/.332/.442 line. He has some experience at first base and corner outfield positions.
It could perhaps be another low-risk move by the Indians to see if they can catch lightning in a bottle. They’ve already reached minor league deals with starter Shaun Marcum, righty Matt Capps, lefty Mike Zagurski and catcher Matt Treanor. It’s possible Betemit could require an actual guaranteed deal, in which case the Tribe would have to make a corresponding 40-man roster move.