Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ronald Belisario is back, Casey Blake is not

Well, Ronald Belisario is finally going to be back in the country after acquiring his visa, allowing him to pitch for the Dodgers once again.

However, he will first have to serve a 25-game suspension from Major League Baseball. From the L.A. Times' blog post:
"The suspension falls under the "drug of abuse" standard rather than a "stimulant" standard, according to a person familiar with the matter."
It's anyone's guess as to what drug Belisario allegedly abused and it would be irresponsible to speculate.

With the Dodgers' already full bullpen, it doesn't seem there's much room for Belisario.

Scott Elbert
Javy Guerra
Matt Guerrier
Blake Hawksworth
Kenley Jansen

These five are assured of opening the season with the Dodgers (barring an unlikely trade or unfortunate injury). The Dodgers also have a few other options to fill the two remaining spots:

Nathan Eovaldi
John Grabow
Josh Lindblom

Lindblom had a nice debut season and should have a spot in the bullpen, but he has minor-league options remaining, so it isn't a certainty he has a spot. Eovaldi is in the same boat. And if the Dodgers want to see if Eovaldi can start, he might very well start the season in Chattanooga. I predicted in my last post Grabow would be the team's second left-handed reliever in the bullpen.

Oh, and General Manager Ned Colletti keeps talking about acquiring a "veteran reliever," which could be Mike MacDougal. I doubt Grabow was that vet the mustachioed one was looking for.
The Dodgers also have a few prospect-options, including Shawn Tolleson and Steve Ames, both of whom are nearly MLB-ready.

Belisario, who hasn't pitched in the Majors since the 2010 season, has no minor-league options remaining, giving him the edge over the trio of Eovaldi, Grabow and Linblom. Then again, he might not even be in game shape right now, so we'll see what happens there.

If he's anywhere close to 2009 Belisario, he could be an asset in the 'pen. If he's the 2010 version, the Dodgers should just cut their losses. He's likely somewhere in the middle, which makes for a serviceable reliever.

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Casey Blake signed a 1-year deal with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday. It's worth $2 million and includes $1 million in incentives.

Blake, who was acquired from the Cleveland Indians before the 2008 trade deadline for Carlos Santana and Jon Meloan, had a decent stint as the Dodgers' third baseman: .260/.338/.431, but certainly wasn't worth Santana.

However, this is a really nice signing for the Rockies. Blake can play the hot corner, first base and each outfield corner. He still mashes left-handed pitching and could be a valuable asset off the Rockies' bench.

The Dodgers will replace him with one of the most inept players in baseball, Juan Uribe.

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