Ronald Belisario’s agent, Paul Kinzer, said yesterday that the Dodgers reliever is in danger of missing the entire season, telling Tony Jackson of ESPNLA.com that “he just has a lot of things he needs to get straightened out.”
Belisario’s arrival at Dodgers camp has been delayed by visa issues for the third year in a row. Last year he didn’t show up until a week or so before Opening Day and spent the first three weeks of the season on the restricted list, later leaving the team for a month due to undisclosed personal reasons.
Kinzer indicated that this year’s visa problems in Venezuela stem from whatever caused Belisario to leave the team last year, explaining that he’s “just not very optimistic” about the right-hander pitching for the Dodgers in 2011. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti is anything but surprised by Belisario’s situation:
When the season ended, I knew we could be walking this path again. I had no misconceptions that this was going to be an easy bridge to cross. Knowing what we went through a year ago, including in-season, I can’t say we built our bullpen with him in it. If he gets back and is in shape and can help our big league club win, we’ll examine it. As of right now, we’re not thinking about it. We will go forward as we are.
Belisario struggled in between all the off-field issues last season, posting a 5.04 ERA in 55 innings after thriving as a rookie with a 2.04 ERA in 71 innings. However, he pitched well in the Venezuelan winter league with 14 saves and a 1.00 ERA. Rather than dropping Belisario altogether the Dodgers can simply place him back on the restricted list, which allows them to retain his rights without committing a 40-man roster spot.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Mariners have received “strong” trade interest for starter Taijuan Walker. The right-hander is currently on the mend from tendinitis in his right foot. He’ll throw a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field with scouts in attendance.
Walker, 23, has a 3.66 ERA with an 80/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings this season. It’s his first bit of sustained success at the major league level. What’s arguably just as intriguing is the fact that Walker will be under team control through 2020.
The Mariners have been hovering around .500 for the last month and entered Thursday six games behind the first-place Rangers in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, behind three other teams as well as the two Wild Card leaders. It’s enough uncertainty which could push the Mariners to sell.
On Monday, we learned that the Mets offered to swap catchers with the Brewers, Travis d'Arnaud for Jonathan Lucroy. The Brewers, as expected, turned that down. The two still continue to discuss a trade involving Lucroy, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
The Mets certainly could use some help at catcher. The club has gotten an aggregate .608 OPS from their backstops, the fourth-lowest mark in baseball, ahead of only the Pirates, Rays, and Indians. However, the Mets seem to be behind other teams — including a “mystery” team — in the bidding, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.
Lucroy, who took Thursday off, is batting .300/.361/.486 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 371 plate appearances for the Brewers this season. He can become a free agent after the season if his controlling club opts against picking up his $5.25 million option for the 2017 season.