Blue Jays finalize minor league deal with Ronald Belisario


We’ve waited for weeks for the Toronto Blue Jays to find an arm that could fill one of the teams available spots in the bullpen. What we got was possibly a bit of a coup.

According to Jim Bowden of ESPN, the Blue Jays have signed reliever Ronald Belisario to a minor league deal, with a Major League salary of $1.7 million if he makes the team.

When we heard earlier morning from Jon Morosi at Fox Sports that the Blue Jays were making a push to land Belisario, the assumption was that he’d take a pay cut from his $3 million salary from last season, when he struggled with the Chicago White Sox. My personal estimate felt that it would land in the $2 million range, which felt about right considering the market we’re playing in this season.

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However, to land Belisario on a minor league deal is a truly brilliant move by Alex Anthopoulos.

Firstly, it gives the Blue Jays the roster flexibility to add another arm without having to make sacrifices from the 40-man roster. That gives the team the ability to create a competition in camp, making sure that Belisario is indeed the bounce-back candidate that his peripherals would suggest and at the same time giving him incentive to come to camp ready to win a job.

On the other hand, the $1.7 million salary if he makes the team is incredibly reasonable. Obviously, Belisario’s market was driven down by his 5.56 ERA last season, coupled with the .771 OPS that left-handed hitters have reached him for over the course of his career. Still, he’s shown some aptitude toward getting hitters out, and is especially effective against right-handers, as they own a measily .218/.281/.305 mark against him.

That all said, the $1.7 million leaves the Blue Jays with plenty of available money to find another relief arm to add alongside him. The Blue Jays continue to have discussions with the agents for Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, and Burke Badenhop. Given the current payroll constraints, Badenhop remains the most likely option among that group. That would put Brett Cecil or Aaron Sanchez in line as the most likely options to close for the team in 2015.