Rays Sign Ronald Belisario
The Rays have signed reliever Ronald Belisario to a minor-league deal, according to Roger Mooney.
Belisario pitched for the White Sox last season, even spending time at closer despite a bloated ERA. On the bright side, he set new career-best walk and strikeout-to-walk rates. Though technically a sinker-slider pitcher, Belisario’s sinker is the reason he’s a big-league pitcher: it’s a well-above-average offering that sits in the mid-90s, misses bats, and forces ground balls.
Anytime a pitcher with this kind of heater comes cheaply, you know he comes with defects. Sure enough Belisario has a few, like how he doesn’t have the command or knockout secondary offering required in late-inning relievers (his slider is closer to below-average). Additionally, Belisario struggles against left-handed batters—in part because he throws from a lower arm slot. Depending on how spring plays out, Belisario could enter the season in a low-leverage or middle-relief role, perhaps as a right-handed-slash-ground-ball specialist.
It’s worth noting Belisario wears goggles. It’s also worth noting he has an additional year of team control remaining, so he could be in town through the 2016 season if he’s effective.
Marc Topkin reports the Rays are also likely to sign Alexi Casilla to a minor-league deal. Casilla has hit .231/.276/.311 over the past three seasons. He’s a switch-hitting infielder likely to spend time on the Rays’ farm, however, so he’s obviously the new Ben Zobrist.