Ronnie Belliard makes weight, gets $825,000

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As a fat guy it amused me when the Dodgers re-signed Ronnie Belliard two months ago and included a clause that guaranteed his one-year, $825,000 contract only if the 5-foot-9 infielder weighed in at 209 pounds or less at some point during spring training.
Sure enough Belliard weighed in at 208 pounds yesterday and earned himself $825,000, but reaching the $250,000 in additional incentives may prove more difficult because it sounds like he’ll begin the season in a bench role despite hitting .351 with five homers in 24 games for the Dodgers down the stretch last year.
Blake DeWitt is expected to be the Opening Day second baseman, leaving Belliard as a pinch-hitter and primary backup at three infield spots. Oh, and just in case NBC Sports decides to put a similar clause into my next contract … well, it was nice knowing you all.

White Sox sign Ervin Santana to minors deal

Ervin Santana
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Free agent right-hander Ervin Santana picked up a minor league deal with the White Sox, according to various reports Friday. Per Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com, Santana will make $4.33 million if he manages to crack the major-league roster this spring. Any official confirmation from the team is still dependent on the results of a physical.

The veteran righty hasn’t seen any action in MLB for some time. He was laid low by prolonged discomfort in his right middle finger last spring, and underwent a capsular release/debridement procedure that kept him off the mound for all but 24 2/3 innings of his 2018 campaign with the Twins. When healthy, however, he’s been as durable and productive as they come. Santana earned his second career All-Star distinction in 2017 and pitched to a 16-8 record in 33 starts with three shutouts, a 3.28 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 2.9 fWAR through 211 1/3 innings.

Barring further complications with his pitching hand, the 36-year-old should be a stabilizing force for the White Sox’ rotation in 2019 — assuming he can beat out southpaw Manny Bañuelos and right-handers Jordan Stephens and Dylan Covey for a back-end role, that is. According to FanGraphs, the club’s starters ranked worst in the league in 2018 with a collective 5.07 ERA, 5.18 FIP, and 3.1 fWAR.