Washington Nationals Invite Matt Belisle To Spring Training

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Jun 7, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Matt Belisle (37) in the eighth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Cardinals won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Matt Belisle (37) in the eighth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Cardinals won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Nats have added another reliever as they signed Matt Belisle to a minor league deal

The Washington Nationals released their full list of non-roster invitees on Monday afternoon, but they added one more reliever to that list tonight before pitchers and catchers officially report tomorrow. The Nats have reportedly signed right-handed reliever Matt Belisle to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Belisle played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015:

During his time with the Cardinals, Belisle went 1-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 34 games. While he had four walks per nine innings (second highest of his career), he did have 6.7 strikeouts per nine (fifth highest total of his career). He was on the disabled list from June 30-September 13 last year because of right elbow inflammation. In 17 road games, he had an ERA of 4.11, but he had a 1.47 ERA in 17 appearances at Busch Stadium.

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Belisle, who was taken by the Atlanta Braves in the second round of the 1998 MLB Draft, did not make his Major League debut till 2003 when he was traded to the Reds. He played one season under Dusty Baker back in 2008. He went 1-4 with a 7.28 ERA in six relief appearances before having surgery to repair a torn ACL in August of that season. 

In his time with the Reds, Belisle was a starting pitcher at one point. In 2007, he made 30 starts and went 8-9 with a 5.32 ERA. However, he has been mainly a reliever during his 11-year career. Back in 2012, he made 80 appearances for the Colorado Rockies (led the league). In the year prior, he went 10-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 74 games.

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Last season, Belisle had an average velocity of 90.6 miles per hour on his fastball (according to Fangraphs). That was a drop off compared to the 91.3 mph fastball he averaged with Colorado in 2014. He is a four-pitch pitcher as he has a slider, curveball, and changeup to go with his fastball.

Next: Nats Non-Roster Player Profile: Paolo Espino

When you are talking minor league deals with any player, it is always a low-risk, high-reward scenario. Belisle joins Nick MassetSean Burnett, and Aaron Laffey as other veteran relievers that were signed to minor league deals with spring training invites by the Nationals this winter. If he’s healthy, the right-hander, who turns 36 in June, can help out the bullpen like he did for St. Louis last year.

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