Jul 8, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Ronald Belisario (54) pitches during the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
I know it is mid-November and a lot of decisions still need to be made within the Chicago White Sox organization, but one decision I believe that needs to be made is not bringing back Ronald Belisario.
It is nothing personal with the right-handed relief pitcher, but mostly business based on his overall performance from 2014 and what he’s up for in terms of payment for his pitching skills.
In an article by Phil Rogers of MLB.com, he wrote the following:
"“Hahn and his evaluators, most notably director of baseball operations Dan Fabian, have (a) decision to make on arbitration-eligible reliever Ronald Belisario … whose (salary) could jump to an estimated $3.9 million.”"
There is no way the White Sox should pay that to Belisario, especially coming off a season like he had in ’14.
Let’s just look at his numbers for argument’s sake.
In ’14, Belisario had an ERA of 5.56 in 62 games in relief, his first season with the White Sox and his fifth season in the majors (he played four years with the Los Angeles Dodgers).
With the White Sox, he pitched 66.1 innings, where he finished with a WAR (wins above replacement) of -1.4 and a RA9 (runs allowed per 9 innings) of 6.24, which was significantly higher from his ’13 RA9 of 4.50.
Belisario’s WAR hasn’t been a positive number since the ’12 season when it was 1.5. In ’13 (his final season with the Dodgers), it was -0.6.
Belisario had eight saves in 12 chances, and he had the second-lowest strikeout numbers of his career with 47, facing a total of 292 batters this past season.
Another Sabermetric category where it shows Belisario’s performance is his RAR (runs better than replacement level), which is the number of runs better the player is than a replacement player.
So, for the RAR stat, Belisario is -7, and in ’13 he was -3, but again, in ’12 with the Dodgers his RAR was 15, so there is that potential sitting there.
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Maybe I’m completely wrong in not wanting to have Belisario on the ’15 roster in the bullpen (it wouldn’t be the first time), but do the White Sox really have the time to “wait and see” on him when it is clear they want to make improvements to the bullpen for the ’15 season?
If the bullpen would have been more consistent in ’14, there is no doubt in my mind the White Sox would have had at least 10 more wins, right?
That said, finding help will be tough, because everyone wants to have a stellar bullpen. But if I were making the overall final decision, there is no way Belisario would get a raise for ’15, based on the way he played in ’14.