Well, it wasn't the Pirates like everyone speculated and I did see a Royals scout at Cheney Stadium the last two days. Perhaps, not the haul or the impact that you expected giving away an every day, but it shows how far Yuni has fallen off in the Mariners eyes. Remember not long ago, there was a proposed trade with Royals sending DH Billy Butler for Betancourt that never happened.
Cortes will report to AA West Tenn in the Southern League and Saito will report to A Clinton in the Midwest League.
"The opportunity presented itself for us to acquire a pair of talented arms and as we move forward we felt this was the right thing to do at this time," Zduriencik said in press release. "We want to thank Yuni for all he has done for the Mariners and wish him the best of luck in Kansas City."
Cortes recently had a minor run in with law in Arkansas.
My new buddy and top Tacoma Rainiers intern Drew Samuelson shot this video and gave me permission to use it.
From the release...
Cortes, 22, is 6-2, 3.12 (20 ER, 57.2 IP) in his last 11 games, 10 GS, dating back to May 7 after beginning the 2009 season 0-4, 5.96 in his first five starts. He was invited to Royals big league camp this spring, and has spent the season pitching for Northwest Arkansas in the AA Texas League, compiling an overall 6-6, 3.92 mark in 16 games, 15 starts. In 80.1 innings pitched, he has allowed 77 hits and struck out 57.
Cortes was the Royals Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2008 (the Paul Splittorff Award) and was rated by Baseball America as the Royals top pitching prospect entering the 2009 season. Prior to the 2008 season, Baseball America tabbed him as the second-best prospect in the Royals system, as well as naming him as the owner of the system's Best Fastball and Best Curveball.
The 6-foot-6, 216-pound right-hander is a native of Pomana, Calif. Cortes was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 7th round of the June, 2005 draft after pitching for Garey High School in Pomona, CA. He was traded to the Royals on July 24, 2006.
Saito, 21, is 2-6 with 1 save and a 4.26 ERA (24 ER, 50.2 IP) in 21 games, all in relief, with A Burlington in the Midwest League. He allowed 8 earned runs in his first four games (8.1 IP), but has allowed just 16 ER in the 17 games since (42.1 IP) for a 3.40 ERA. For the year, Saito has struck out 52 in 50.2 IP, while walking just 14. Saito has limited left-handed batters to a .200 (11x55) batting average.
Saito spent his first professional season (2008) with Idaho Falls in the Northwest League, where he was 3-4, 4.36 in 18 games, all in relief.
The 5-foot-9, 155-pound left-hander is a native of Wailuki, Hawaii. Saito was drafted by the Royals in the 16th round of the June, 2008 draft after pitching for Col Poly San Luis Obispo University. As a sophomore, he set a school Division I record by averaging 14.13 strikeouts-per-nine-innings pitched.
Betancourt, 27, was hitting .250 (56-for-224) with 10 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs and 22 RBI with Seattle this season. He is currently on rehabilitation assignment at AAA Tacoma. Betancourt was signed as a non-drafted free agent on Jan. 26, 2005. In 588 games (2005-09) with Seattle, he hit .279 with 123 doubles, 27 home runs and 202 RBI while walking 70 times and striking out 186 times.