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Ronald Belisario: Yay or Nay?

The Rays have until tomorrow to decide.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

This past January, Ronald Belisario reached a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, before things fell apart and the Rays swooped in and signed him to a minor league deal. Heading into spring training, Belisario was in line to compete for a spot in the Rays pen, but unfortunately he fractured his left shoulder prior to spring training and wasn't be able to take part in the runup to the season.

Last year, Belisario was part of the White Sox closer by committee and seemed to suffer from some bad luck. He was an extreme ground ball pitcher, generating a grounder 59% of the time (over his career has generated them around 60% of the time). Last season he pitched in 62 games for Chicago and had a 5.56 ERA, but he had a 3.54 FIP to go along with that. Belisario also put up the lowest walk rate of his career last year at 6.2%.

Since Belisario was unable to perform during spring training, he was sent to Triple-A Durham, where he's been decent for the past two months. Some of his numbers have been skewed due to a couple of poor outings; 21 of his 27 appearances in Durham have been scoreless, while he's also collected 15 saves. In 30.1 innings pitched, Belisario has a 14.8 K% and 7.4 BB%, to go along with his 3.76 FIP.

I'm not sure what his stuff has looked like in Durham, but in the past his arsenal has featured a mid-90s true sinker, a mid-80s slider, and a changeup that Kevin identified as the most extreme groundball changeup in the Rays organization.

Now Belisario has reached the point in the season where the Rays have a choice. They can either promote him to the major league roster, or he can (and will) opt out and become a free agent.

Right now the Rays bullpen looks like this:


Brad Boxberger

Brandon Gomes

Kevin Jepsen

Steve Geltz

Jake McGee

Enny Romero

C.J. Riefenhauser

Xavier Cedeno

So, there are plenty of options for the Rays to play with. Alex Colome goes to the hill tonight against the Nationals, and Enny Romero could be used in long relief before being optioned after the game to open the door for Belisario. The Rays aren't in a position where they can just allow arms to leave the team considering all of the injuries thus far this season.

I, for one, think the Rays will promote him following tonight's game and they'll option either Riefenhauser or Romero depending on what happens tonight. Right now, there are currently 38 players on the 40-man roster, so that leaves two spots open. Belisario could certainly take one of those spots, and if that doesn't work out, he could be DFA'd, leaving the Rays no worse for their troubles.