The Dodgers reached agreement with their two arbitration-eligible players Friday. A.J. Ellis and Ronald Belisario signed one-year deals with $2 million and $1.45 million, respectively.
Belisario, 30, finished the 2012 season as the Dodgers’ primary eighth-inning reliever. He began the season by serving a 25-game suspension tied to cocaine possession, which prevented him from leaving Venezuela in 2011 and caused him to miss the entire season. The right-hander is 15-5 with a 3.06 ERA in 196 career games, all out of the bullpen.
Ellis, 31, became the Dodgers’ starting catcher in 2012 after spending most of the previous nine seasons in the minor leagues. He batted .270 with 13 home runs and a team-leading .373 on-base percentage.
The Dodgers have avoided going to arbitration with any player for six years. Pitcher Joe Beimel was the last, in 2007.
Happy salary figure exchange day. May the odds be ever in your favor.
The Dodgers’ two salary arbitration-eligible players, A.J. Ellis and Ronald Belisario, will present their contract proposals to the team today. Both might end up signing a new contract today. They might end up negotiating with the Dodgers for a couple weeks. Or, they might let an arbitrator decide how much they should earn next year — their proposed salary or the team’s. That rarely happens.
In fact, the Dodgers haven’t had an arbitration case since Joe Beimel on Feb. 9, 2007.
Last year, only Clayton Kershaw got close to going to arbitration before signing a two-year deal on Feb. 7.
Ellis made $490,000 in base salary last year and Belisario made $480,000, according to Cots. Roll out a starting catcher and a set-up man with comparable stats, at comparable points in their careers, with comparable injury histories (or the lack thereof, in the case of these guys) and you have the basis for a negotiating point. Sometimes that’s easy to get to, sometimes it isn’t, but it’s fair to expect these guys will be getting raises very soon.
For other arbitration resolutions around the league, MLBtraderumors.com has set up an updating “arbitration tracker” link here.
Or, just do what everyone else does and stay glued to Twitter. Today’s links …
Matt Kemp will serve as the celebrity Grand Marshal in the 28th annual Kingdom Day Parade in South Los Angeles on Saturday, the Dodgers announced. The parade, in recognition of Martin Luther King Day, will be broadcast on KABC (Channel 7) and is southern California’s largest King Day celebration.
The Dodgers are among the sponsors of the 28th annual Kingdom Day parade themed “His Dream Will Never Die.” The Kingdom Day Parade, which is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Western Ave., commemorates the life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King and wife Coretta Scott King.
Eight Dodgers will participate in the World Baseball Classic, according to preliminary rosters announced today.
Mexico: 1B Adrian Gonzalez, 3B Luis Cruz, SS Alfredo Amezaga.
Venezuela: RP Ronald Belisario
Dominican Republic: SS Hanley Ramirez
Spain: RP Paco Rodriguez
Australia: RP Peter Moylan
Italy: INF Nick Punto
Moylan and Amezaga signed minor-league deals with an invitation to spring training. The other six players are currently on the 40-man roster.
Dodgers Spanish-language color commentator Fernando Valenzuela will be the pitching coach for Team Mexico, a Dodgers spokesperson confirmed, even though he isn’t listed on Mexico’s roster online.
Former Dodgers outfielder Karim Garcia is listed on Mexico’s roster. Former Dodger Andruw Jones, a native of Curaçao, is playing for The Netherlands. Adrian Gonzalez’s brother, who finished last season in Japan, is also playing for Team Mexico.
The United States roster for the World Baseball Classic was announced today. Have a look:
Obviously there are no Dodgers on the roster, but that could change. Think of this roster as a rough draft; teams must submit their final roster on Feb. 20, and all non-WBC players must report to spring training by then.
“Rough” is also a good way of describing the United States’ preliminary starting rotation. Beyond veterans R.A. Dickey and Ryan Vogelsong, who were both excellent in 2012 (and rarely so before 2010), Team USA would have to roll out Derek Holland and Kris Medlen if the tournament started today. Fortunately it doesn’t start today. It starts with three games in three days March 8, 9 and 10 – and possibly a fourth game on March 12 if they can place first or second in a four-team pool that includes Canada, Mexico and Italy. Can Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke sneak in one start? What about Justin Verlander, David Price, Jered Weaver or Matt Cain? Seems like the star power is falling short.
Of course, that didn’t stop the WBC from posting the headline “Stars Align on U.S. Roster for Classic” on its website today. Some feel that headline doesn’t tell the story. Count me in that group.
Jesus Flores is 28 years old and has caught 263 major-league games. That makes him younger and more experienced than the Dodgers’ starter, A.J. Ellis.
The Washington Nationals granted Flores free agency in November and the Dodgers signed him to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training on Tuesday.
Flores figures to compete with Tim Federowicz for the backup job. Considering Federowicz’s lack of experience (10 major-league games), it could make for an interesting competition.
Flores’ career batting numbers aren’t much to look at, though he did hit eight home runs and drive in 59 in only 90 games in 2008. The Venezuela native batted .301 in 2009, when surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right shoulder limited his season to 29 games. Flores hasn’t been the same since.
He didn’t play at all in 2010 and worried whether his career was over. He came back to play 30 games in 2011 and 83 last season, all in a backup role for the Nationals. His slash line since the surgery: .212/.249/.325. Even Flores’ defense seems to have suffered; since the surgery he’s thrown out only 13 of 67 attempted base stealers – 19.4 percent.
Flores is currently playing for Navegantes del Magallanes of the Venezuelan Winter League.
The Dodgers’ 40-man roster is full, so you’d have to make room for Rolen somewhere (looking at you, 10 infielders) unless he is willing to sign a minor-league contract with a spring training invite. Given the opportunity to rule out retirement, Rolen hasn’t ruled out retirement. The Cincinnati Enquirer (click on the last link) reports that there isn’t much room for Rolen on the Reds’ roster either.
The 1997 National League Rookie of the Year, Rolen batted .245/.318/.398 in 92 games last season. He missed nearly a month with a strained left shoulder last season, and only played 65 games in 2011 due to shoulder and back problems.
Players with three to six years of MLB service time are ordinarily eligible for arbitration. Ellis and Belisario each have less than three years’ service (exactly 2 years and 151 days, as calculated by MLB), but both are eligible for arbitration because they achieved “Super 2″ status in 2012. According to baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the cutoff for Super 2 arbitration status in 2012 was two years and 139 days of service time. This year, only the top 22 percent of players with more than two but less than three years’ service time were classified as Super 2s.