9:06am: Belisle will earn a $1.5MM salary with a chance for more via incentives if he makes the Indians, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. There are $1.75MM in bonuses, Buster Olney of ESPN adds (via Twitter).
7:39am: The Indians have agreed to a minor league contract with reliever Matt Belisle, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports. The deal includes an invitation to big league camp.
The 37-year-old Belisle spent last season with Minnesota, one of the Indians’ AL Central rivals, and emerged as the Twins’ closer after they traded Brandon Kintzler in July. In all, the right-handed Belisle pitched to a 4.03 ERA, posted 8.06 K/9 against 3.28 BB/9 and recorded nine saves over 60 1/3 innings.
While Belisle only induced ground balls at a 40.7 percent clip, he made up for it with a 15.6 percent infield fly rate – the 17th-best figure among qualified relievers and a significantly higher number than his career mark (7 percent). And even though Belisle’s velocity dropped from the low-90s to the high-80s as the season progressed, he was far more effective in the second half of the year (1.71 ERA, 3.08 FIP across 26 1/3 innings) than the first (5.82 ERA, 4.83 FIP over 34 frames). Belisle helped his cause by stifling both same-handed hitters (.243/.319/.377) and lefty-swingers (.160/.244/.351).
Since debuting in the majors in 2003, Belisle has fared similarly against righties (.278/.322/.420) and lefties (.266/.333/.422), and has registered a 4.19 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 2.28 BB/9 and a 46.9 percent grounder rate across 894 1/3 innings. Also a former Red, Rockie, Cardinal and National, he’ll now attempt to join an Indians bullpen that was among the game’s elite in 2017. The Indians have since lost righties Bryan Shaw and Joe Smith to free agency, but Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, Zach McAllister, Dan Otero, Nick Goody and Tyler Olson remain on hand in a still-impressive group.
Good low cost pickup.
Free Clay Zavada
His numbers obviously weren’t amazing last year, and he’s pretty old, but I still expected him to get a majors deal
Need extra arms, considering how many games are played in the spring, and the fact the games started earlier this year.
they end earlier too!
Great deal. Hes the type of guy you want in a clubhouse and at very little risk.
Rumor has it that he is very proficient at back rubs.
Had a rough start last season if I recall, but really got in the groove when he had to step up. Good signing by the Indians.
1st Half- 5.82 ERA 34 IP
2nd Half- 1.71 ERA 26.1 IP