Cards ink reliever Matt Belisle
Right-handed reliever Matt Belisle, an 11-year Major League veteran, has agreed to a one-year contract with the Cardinals, the organization announced on Tuesday. The addition further fortifies the Cardinals’ bullpen, which is expected to lose 2014 contributors Pat Neshek and Jason Motte to free agency.
Belisle is the second reliever added to the Cardinals’ Major League roster this offseason. Right-hander Jordan Walden came over to the organization in the team’s four-player November trade with Atlanta. FOXSports.com reported that Belisle’s deal includes $3.5 million in guaranteed money with the ability to increase that salary to $4 million through appearance incentives.
Belisle, 34, was most recently with Colorado, where he made at least 66 appearances in five of his six seasons. That included 66 in 2014, a season in which Belisle posted a 4.87 ERA and 1.438 WHIP in 64 2/3 innings. He struck out 43 and walked 19. Since transitioning to a relief role after the 2008 season, Belisle has never walked more than 20 batters in a season.
In 2012, Belisle made a National League-most 80 appearances. Over the last five years, he ranks second in the Majors with 367 appearances and 10th with 91 Holds. Belisle’s career splits against left-handed hitters and right-handed hitters are nearly the same.
Prior to signing with the Rockies, Belisle pitched five seasons for the Reds. He was a second-round pick by the Braves in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft and made his Major League debut against the Cardinals in 2003.
With Belisle now in the mix, the Cardinals have given themselves sufficient coverage in the bullpen as they look ahead to 2015. Before adding Walden and Belisle, the club already had Trevor Rosenthal, Randy Choate, Seth Maness, Kevin Siegrist and Sam Freeman among those returning. Carlos Martinez and Marco Gonzales would also slide into bullpen roles if not in the Opening Day rotation.
The addition of Belisle brings the Cardinals’ 40-man roster count to 38.
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