The Twins Singed Free Agent RHP Matt Belisle

The Twins have signed free agent RHP Matt Belisle who turns 37 years old early this June, in an 1 year, $2.05 million deal.   Belisle was drafted by the Braves in the 2nd round of the 1998 draft out of High School, was traded to the Reds for then 35  year old Kent Mercker in 2003, and moved on to Rockies, Cardinals, and Nationals as a free agent.   A swingman and full time starter with the Reds with limited effectiveness early in his career.  He moved to the pen full time after missing most of 2008 with a torn ACL and knee surgery.   In the off-season  after 2010 he had knee meniscus surgery as well. 

Belisle spent all of his career in the NL and has faced AL hitters only during interleague games.  AL hitters have been hitting .294/.346/.453  in 355 plate appearances collectively of Belisle, during his whole career.   The last couple of seasons he has been used as a mop up pitcher in low leverage situations.   Last season he appeared in 40 games with the Nationals (46 IP), striking out 32 (6.3 K/9, 17.2 K%) and walking out 7 (1.4 BB/9, 13.4 K-BB%)  He finished with a 1.76 ERA, 2.84 FIP and 1.09 WHIP (.285 BABIP), all career best.   Belisle pitches to contact and tries to get outs with ground balls.   Last season he was aided by a non-sustainable 4.5 HR/FB and a 78.8% strand rate.  His career ERA is 4.20 and FIP 3.76 (SIERA 3.63 and xFIP 3.74), and those are likely outcomes for next season.

The Twins' 40-man roster is full, so adding Belisle will necessitate designating someone for assignment.   Mike Tonkin, Ryan O'Rourke, Buddy Boshers, and Pat Light being the likely candidates as far as pitchers go, and Danny Santana, as far as hitters go.  The last thing a 103 loss team needs is a 37 year old mop up man who will cost them potentially a younger player.  So this is a bit of a headscratcher to say the least.   Not that any of the above, with the potential exception of Light have much future in the majors, but a journeyman pop-up guy in a team that needs to focus on youth is perplexing.  Maybe the new Twins' brass know something...


Marv said...

I find this move to be so Terry Ryan-like that it is unnerving.
By SIERRA, Boshers is second on the team to only May.
By xFIP Boshers is first, with May second. I'd rather they not let Boshers go for this 'journeyman'.

And if they were to use Tonkin properly I think it's possible we would get some value from him. Won't know until that happens.

I'm not suggesting all is well, but on this team our bullpen, if not terribly overworked, could very well be a strength.

thrylos98 said...

Totally Ryan-like. Wonder if Ratcliff got his way here again ;)

Now we know that Park is the one who was the victim here. Bizarre