At this point last year, Twins fans were excited at the possibly of adding a 40 home run hitter to the line-up. A year later, those hopes have went completely caput, and keeping Brian Dozier now looks like a fantastic decision. The Twins needed relief pitching, which they got this week. While adding pitching, they made a somewhat surprising cut to free up space on the 40-man roster. The move could be deemed controversial, but a necessary one to improve the club.
The Twins announced that they inked veteran reliever Matt Belisle to a one-year, $2.05 million contract on February 2. Belisle is known to eat up innings, as a bridge from the starting pitcher to the set-up man. The 36-year-old was drafted by Atlanta in 1998, however was traded to Cincinnati five years later. Belisle debuted in 2003, where he went 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in six appearances for the Reds. Earlier in his career, Belisle started some games, but transitioned to the bullpen in 2009. His best year in the bullpen came in 2011, while pitching for Colorado. Belisle had a record of 10-4, racking up 58 strikeouts, while recording a 3.25 ERA that year. Pitching for four teams, Belisle has a career record of 49-55 and an ERA of 4.20. Belisle is known to be hard-working, and the Twins hope that he will bring his skills with into a bullpen that needs help.
With the addition of Belisle, the Twins designated Byung Ho Park for assignment the same day. The Korean slugger came to Minnesota with high hopes, and his first season in the Major Leagues ended in disappointment. Park made the team in 2016 in hope of providing power to the line-up. While he showed his skills with 12 home runs in 62 games, Park had just a .191 batting average while striking out 80 times. Because Park looked so bad, he was sent to Triple-A in July and never returned due to his poor performance and season-ending wrist surgery. Park just could not get used to the pitching in America, and it was painful to watch sometimes. Nonetheless, when he connected, the ball went far! Park is not expected to get picked up on waivers, so he is expected to remain in the Twins system. If Park does get picked up, General Manager Thad Levine could release him.
There is your Twins update for the week. Enjoy the Super Bowl today (go Falcons!). Remember once the game is over, we can turn our attention to baseball. Spring Training starts February 13 in Florida!
Written by: Michael L. Sack