Ronald Belisario missed all of last season because he couldn’t secure a visa, but this year the Venezuelan reliever has already reported to Dodgers camp in Arizona in the hopes of reclaiming a bullpen job.
Of course, since nothing ever seems to come easy with Belisario he’d first have to serve a 25-game suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy, which means he won’t be on the Opening Day roster regardless of how good he looks in spring training.
Belisario had a fantastic rookie season in 2009, throwing 71 innings with a 2.04 ERA and 64/29 K/BB ratio, but posted a 5.04 ERA in 55 innings as a sophomore and missed a big chunk of the season while undergoing treatment for an undisclosed drug problem. At this point the Dodgers should probably view any contributions from Belisario as a bonus and work from there.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.