Much to my chagrin, last month the Royals demoted shortstop Mike Aviles to AAA. Aviles of course was working his way back from shoulder surgery and the team said it wasn't ready to go. Apparently two weeks was enough to do the job as he was recalled when the team demoted Alex Gordon to learn left field and first base.
Since returning on the 2nd, Aviles has been given a pair of starts, including each of the past two games. He's responded by going 5-9 with a home run. Welcome back indeed...
Aviles of course was the Royals regular shortstop until going under the knife in early 2009. To replace him, the Royals traded for Yuniesky Betancourt of the Mariners. Betancourt performed miserably throughout 2009, posting an OPS of just .625, and has performed almost as bad this year, posting an OPS of just .664. That sort of offensive performance would be acceptable if it came with strong defense, but instead, Betancourt consistently ranks very poorly in both UZR and Dewan's +/- system.
If Aviles' shoulder is indeed healthy, he should be a MAJOR upgrade at shortstop, providing both a superior bat along with significantly better defense. Of course, much of that depends on the state of Aviles' shoulder.
Should he prove to be healthy enough however, the Royals need to be playing him. He certainly has the talent to be the best shortstop in the Central, and one of the better shortstops in all of baseball if he can repeat his 2008 performance.