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St. Louis Cardinals sign free-agent relief pitcher Matt Belisle to one-year contract

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The Cardinals are short on righthanded relievers, so they signed a Starboarder.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Tuesday that they have signed free-agent righthander Matt Belisle to a "one-year contract." Selected in the second round of the 1998 amateur draft by the Atlanta Braves, Belisle is entering his age-35 season, which will mark his twelfth as a big-leaguer. Belisle broke into the majors with the Reds, but pitched the last six seasons with the Rockies. The righty has started one game in the last six seasons (on August 15 of last season; he lasted three innings), which is to say that he's a reliever who will thicken the rather thin ranks of the Starboarders in the St. Louis bullpen.

According to FOX's Ken Rosenthal, the Cardinals and Belisle have agreed to a contract worth at least $3.5 million. Rosenthal further tweets that St. Louis may pay Belisle as much as $4 million via the following bonuses:

  • $150,000 for making 50 appearances
  • $150,000 for reaching the 60-appearance threshold
  • $200,000 if manager Mike Matheny uses Belisle for 70 appearances

Belisle is listed as a member of the Cardinals' 40-man roster on the team's website, which means that his is a major-league contract (as opposed to a minor-league deal with a non-roster invitation to spring training).

For a reliever, Belisle typically induces a below average swinging-strike rate (SwStr%, which measures the percentage of overall strikes that are induced by swings-and-misses), a lower than average strikeout rate (K%), and posts a walk rate that is lower than his bullpenning peers. All while potting up a roughly league-average ERA (once adjusted for home park, as measured by ERA-) and better-than-average FIP (once adjusted for home park, as measured by FIP-). The following chart contains Belisle's career stats.

Year

G

GS

IP

LOB%

K%

BB%

ERA

ERA-

FIP

FIP-

xFIP

2003

6

0

8.2

69.0

15.4

5.1

5.19

119

4.19

95

4.03

2005

60

5

85.2

71.4

15.5

6.8

4.41

103

4.43

103

3.97

2006

30

2

40.0

81.0

14.4

10.6

3.60

78

5.12

111

5.08

2007

30

30

177.2

66.9

16.2

5.6

5.32

116

4.58

98

4.17

2008

6

6

29.2

54.9

9.9

4.2

7.28

165

4.55

103

4.04

2009

24

0

31.0

61.4

16.5

3.8

5.52

119

4.77

102

3.95

2010

76

0

92.0

73.8

24.9

4.4

2.93

64

2.68

59

2.78

2011

74

0

72.0

70.5

19.3

4.7

3.25

74

3.07

69

3.25

2012

80

0

80.0

72.4

19.8

5.2

3.71

80

2.97

65

3.33

2013

72

0

73.0

65.4

20.6

5.0

4.32

99

3.03

69

2.99

2014

66

1

64.2

67.8

15.3

6.7

4.87

114

3.74

87

3.92

Total

524

44

754.1

69.1

17.7

5.6

4.41

99

3.82

85

3.79