Ronald Belisario Rumors

NL West Notes: Cuddyer, Belisario, MacDougal, Ross

A few items of note to pass along out of the NL West …

  • Newly signed Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer will earn a base salary of $10.5MM in each year of his three-year contract, although he can earn an additional $1.5MM in incentives in the deal's final year, 2014, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. 
  • Cuddyer will man right field for the Rox, while Carlos Gonzalez shifts over to center, tweets Thomas Harding of MLB.com.
  • Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario, who missed the entire 2011 season due to visa issues, has secured a visa and is expected to be in camp on time for the start of Spring Training, according to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times
  • However, Belisario will have to serve a 25-game suspension, which are typically doled out when players fail to comply with treatment programs, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Belisario had issues with substance abuse in 2010 and 2011, which is in part why he had trouble obtaining a visa.
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says he's still in the market for another reliever despite re-adding Belisario to the bullpen picture, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles. Gurnick reports the Dodgers remain in negotiations to bring back right-hander Mike MacDougal.
  • Free agent outfielder Cody Ross, who spent the past season and a half with the Giants, is now seeking a two-year contract, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Ross was originally looking for a three-year pact, but that was only to remain in pitcher-friendly San Francisco, according to O'Brien.

Heyman On Castillo, Beltre, Belisario, Ackley

Carlos Silva looks like he has earned a release based on his spring performance, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Like Oliver Perez, Silva is set to earn $12MM in 2011. Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors, including the latest on another candidate to be released…

  • Heyman hears that Luis Castillo has looked better than the others in competition for the Mets second base job. Castillo's performance and the lack of a standout alternative may reduce the chances that the Mets release him.
  • When Rangers GM Jon Daniels asked Adrian Beltre why two of his best seasons came in contract years, Beltre’s response was succinct: “I wish I [expletive] knew.”
  • Ronald Belisario is having trouble getting a visa, so the Dodgers aren’t counting on him this year.
  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik says Dustin Ackley, the second overall pick in 2009, has “a shot” to make the team out of Spring Training.

Dodgers Renew Ronald Belisario’s Contract

The Dodgers have renewed Ronald Belisario's contract and have placed him on the restricted list, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.  For the third straight season, the right-hander's arrival at Spring Training has been delayed by visa problems.

Belisario, 28, failed to report to camp by February 26, giving the Dodgers the right to remove him from the 40-man roster while retaining his rights by placing him on the restricted list.  It was reported a few weeks ago that Belisario would probably have to miss the season due to the problems.  However, the reliever claimed that he had lost his passport and was working to get it replaced.

The hurler posted a 2.04 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in his rookie campaign but was unable to find similar success in 2010.  Belisario missed a month of action last year, reportedly due to a stint in substance-abuse rehab.



Belisario Could Miss Season Due To Visa Issues

Dodgers right-hander Ronald Belisario's arrival at Spring Training has been delayed by visa problems for the third straight season.  The reliever told Venezuelan newspaper Lider en Deportes (as passed on by Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times) that he had lost his passport and was working to get it replaced, but this news surprised Belisario's agent Paul Kinzer, who told Hernandez a day earlier that Belisario was unlikely to be approved to enter the United States and would probably have to miss the seaason.

Kinzer said on Wednesday that he was "not very optimistic" about Belisario pitching in the majors, and said the following day that Belisario's claim of a lost passport was "news to me."  Kinzer also admitted that he hadn't heard from his client "in a few weeks."  If Belisario isn't at Spring Training by February 26, Hernandez notes the Dodgers could remove him from the 40-man roster but still retain his rights by placing him on the restricted list.

Belisario posted a 2.04 ERA and an 8.2 K/9 rate in 69 relief appearances in his 2009 rookie year, but struggled both on the field (a 5.04 ERA in 59 games) and off (a month-long leave of absence from the team that was reportedly due to substance-abuse rehab) in 2010.  ESPNLosAngeles.com's Tony Jackson hears from Kinzer that Belisario's problems in obtaining a visa are related to his off-the-field problems last summer.   

Belisario was pitching extremely well in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason, but given these repeated problems, you wonder how long the Dodgers will tolerate him.  The team's recent acquisitions of Juan Rincon and Lance Cormier — plus their interest in Jeff Weaver — indicates the Dodgers are already getting some right-handed options in place should Belisario indeed not be able to pitch.


Potential Relievers For The Diamondbacks

As soon as he took over as D'Backs GM, Kevin Towers vowed to improve the Arizona bullpen. The team's relievers posted a 5.74 ERA last year, so Towers has a challenge ahead. The D'Backs play in Chase Field, a park so hitter-friendly the organization is considering ways to help pitchers. In particular, Chase Field is homer-friendly and has consistently been among the best launching pads in the game.

Towers will be looking for relievers this winter and he may be inclined to pick up pitchers who keep the ball on the ground. Here are some options the D'Backs may consider:

  • Jamey Wright – The 35-year-old strikes out just 4.3 batters per nine innings, but his 62% ground ball rate placed him eighth among major league relievers with at least 20 innings pitched. Wright will be available as a free agent.
  • Ronald Belisario – Belisario, who turns 28 in December, followed up his sensational rookie season (8.2 K/9, 2.04 ERA in 2009) with a disappointing year. He ran into personal problems and posted a 5.04 ERA. He still struck out twice as many batters as he walked and his 61% ground ball rate ranked tenth among big league relievers, so the D'Backs could have interest in trading for the promising righty.
  • Bobby Jenks – Jenks is a non-tender candidate, so he could become a free agent within six weeks. The D'Backs coud use an ace reliever and Jenks boasts a 58% ground ball rate.
  • Carlos Torres – A starter in the White Sox system, the right-hander just spent his third season at Triple-A. Torres, who turns 28 tomorrow, provides depth for the White Sox, but hasn't done much in two big league cameos. He limited opponents to 7.0 H/9 this year and posted a 48% ground ball rate. 
  • Chaz Roe – Roe, a 2005 first rounder, posted a 5.98 ERA at Triple-A and allowed 210 hits in 158 innings. The 24-year-old struggled as a starter, but the D'Backs could try to pry him away from the Rockies and hope that his 49% ground ball rate (14th in the PCL) translates to success in their 'pen.

NL West Notes: Bowker, Giants, D’Backs

Here's some news items from what might be baseball's most competitive division next season….


Dodgers Notes: Ramirez, Belliard, Belisario

Some quick hits about L.A.'s blue team…

  • Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported that Manny Ramirez said he would play three more years in the majors and then two years in Japan.  This came just a day after Ramirez hinted that 2010 would probably be his last year with the Dodgers and possibly his last year in baseball altogether.  At this point, Ramirez could announce that he wants to play for Mr. Burns' softball team and nobody would bat an eye.  
  • Hernandez also reported that infielder Ronnie Belliard estimated his weight at "210 or 211 pounds" upon his arrival at the Dodgers' spring camp.  If Belliard weighs in at 209 pounds or less at any point during the spring, the $825K contract he signed last month will become guaranteed.
  • MLB.com's Ken Gurnick says that reliever Ronald Belisario hasn't arrived to spring training yet due to a visa problem in his native Venezuela.  It shouldn't be a major issue (Hernandez tweeted earlier today that the pitcher is expected this week), but Gurnick noted that if Belisario is held up for too long past L.A.'s March 5 preseason opener, the Dodgers couldn't send him down to the minors without risking losing him to a waiver claim since Belisario is out of options. 
  • In a separate piece, Gurnick talks to Brian Giles, who is looking at his minor-league deal with the Dodgers as his "last shot" to see if he's healthy enough to continue playing.

Dodgers Rumors: Wolf, Belisario, Wade

Dodgers hot stove info courtesy of Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times

  • Why didn't the Dodgers offer arbitration to Type A free agent Randy Wolf?  They feared he'd accept and get $15MM.  Do you agree with that logic?  The Dodgers were given one last chance to sign Wolf this morning, but GM Ned Colletti passed.
  • Free agent possibilities at second base: Ronnie Belliard, Juan Uribe, Craig Counsell and Jamey Carroll
  • The Dodgers offered only a minor league deal to Juan Castro, so he went with the Phillies.
  • The Mets have inquired on Dodgers relievers Ronald Belisario and Cory Wade.