Last year, Matt Belisle was the Clydesdale of the Colorado bullpen. Belisle led the team in appearances and his 92 innings pitched totaled more than any other reliever. Impressively, he struck out 8.9 hitters per every nine innings, while only walking 16 for the entire season. His 2.93 ERA was nearly a full point lower than his previous career best.
Belisle signed with the Rockies prior to the 2009 season. Before joining the Rockies, Matt had a fairly lackluster career with the Reds. He pitched for five seasons in Cincinnati, accumulating a 5.06 ERA in 132 games. In 2007, he made 30 starts, but wasn’t very good. Since coming to Colorado, Belisle has made 100 relief appearances with a 3.59 ERA over 123 innings.
Yesterday, the Rockies avoided arbitration with the right-handed Belisle, signing him to a one year, $2.35M extension. His base salary in 2010 was $850K, but he ended up making roughly $1.1M after incentives and bonuses. Good for Matt. His breakout 2010 season earned him more money than he made in his first four seasons combined. The Rockies need him to duplicate the success he found last season.
With Belisle signed, the Rockies have just five more players that are arbitration eligible this spring. Infielders Ian Stewart and Jose Lopez, pitchers Jason Hammel and Felipe Paulino, and outfielder Seth Smith are all eligible. However, the process should be a relatively easy one for the Rox. Each player should get a pay raise, but nothing too significant.