Photo by Ed Zurga / Getty Images
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians are adding to their bullpen competition seemingly by the day and it will make the sprint for one or two spots that more interesting. On Sunday morning the Tribe announced the signing for free agent reliever Matt Belisle.
Belisle and the Indians agreed to a Minor League deal with an invite to big league camp. On Sunday manager Terry Francona confirmed that Belisle will be thrown into the club's competition for one or two bullpen spots.
Belisle, 37, spent the 2017 season with the Minnesota Twins, posting a mark of 2-2 with 9 saves and a 4.03 ERA in 62 relief appearances (60.1IP, 48H, 27ER, 22BB, 54SO, .218 avg). He served as the club’s primary closer over the last two months of the season following the trade of Brandon Kintzler, converting 9 of his 11 save opportunities after July 31.
The Austin, TX native’s 8.06 strikeouts per 9.0 IP were the second-best mark of his career and his .218 batting average against was a new career-low. He also recorded 14 holds, which were tied for sixth in the American League at the All-Star Break.
Belisle owns a 14-year Major League career record of 51-57 with 14 saves and a 4.19 ERA in 660 appearances/44 starts (894.1IP, 975H, 416ER, 227BB, 686SO) with five Major League clubs. He began his professional career in 1998 (Atlanta Braves, 2nd round) and was later traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2003 for LHP Kent Mercker.
- Nick Camino
(The Cleveland Indians press release also contributed to this report.)
LISTEN: New Indians right-hander Matt Belisle talks to Nick Camino and Jordan Bastian.