With reliever Ronald Belisario’s deal with the Blue Jays having fallen through, the Rays took the opportunity to snap him up and sign him to a minor league deal, per Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkin adds that the Rays are likely to add infielder Alexi Casilla on a minor league deal as well. Both are expected to compete for major league jobs during spring training.
Belisario, 32, spent last season with the White Sox, finishing with a 5.56 ERA and a 47/18 K/BB ratio in 66 1/3 innings. He was effective out of the bullpen in the previous two seasons with the Dodgers, however.
Casilla, 30, has a career .633 OPS over parts of nine seasons in the major leagues. He appeared in only one game for the Orioles last season, spending most of the year with Triple-A Norfolk.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.