As the deadline for tendering contracts to players eligible for arbitration came and went, the Dodgers made a decision that will affect the bullpen next season.
According to the Dodgers official Twitter account, the Dodgers decided against offering one reliever a contract:
Today, the #Dodgers non-tendered RHP Ronald Belisario, making him a free agent.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) December 3, 2013
The 30-year-old is now a free agent and will likely not return to the Dodgers. Last season, Belisario struggled throughout and ended with a 3.97 ERA in 77 appearances after a career year in 2012. The right-hander had become one of the most reliable arms out of the bullpen but failed to replicate his success in 2013.
The Dodgers also tendered contracts to pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, and catcher A.J. Ellis.
With Belisario gone, the Dodgers bullpen will be significantly different next season, especially if fellow reliever Brian Wilson does not return. Belisario had spent four seasons with the team and many expected him to be back for a fifth. In 2012, the right-hander posted a 2.54 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 68 appearances, becoming the seventh inning man ahead of Kenley Jansen and Brandon League.
However, Belisario never quite found his spot in 2013 and was effective in random, short bursts. The right-hander’s ERA never went below 3.00 since May and would have been higher if inherited runners had been taken into account, as Belisario constantly came in with runners on base and allowed them to score.
His struggles continued into the postseason, where he had a 7.36 ERA in seven appearances. He allowed three runs in 3.2 innings of work, while giving up three hits and walking two between the two series.
Belisario was one of six Dodgers still on the team from the 2009 NLCS roster and is another step in the complete overhaul of the roster in that short time. The Dodgers may still bring him back, but look for the right-hander to be inconsistent somewhere else next season.