Belisario was non-tendered by the Dodgers on Monday, making the right-hander a free agent. The quick signing with Chicago, coupled with the salary, makes the move by the Dodgers even more puzzling. Belisario made $1.5 million in 2013 and likely would have earned somewhere between $2-2.5 million on the open market (Matt Swartz at MLB Trade Rumors estimated Belisario at $2.3 million for 2014 in October).
Given that Belisario earned more on the open market than he would have commanded via salary arbitration, it seems like the Dodgers missed an opportunity to hold onto the relief pitcher, even if only to trade him. Getting back even a warm body is better than the nothing the Dodgers received by non-tendering Belisario.
Belisario's up-and-down tenure with the Dodgers lasted five years, one of the more productive minor league contracts the team has procured in recent memory. Belisario was 20-12 with a 3.29 ERA, four saves, 220 strikeouts and 105 walks in 265 innings in four seasons in Los Angeles. After showing up to spring training late with visa issues in his first two years with the Dodgers (2009-2010), Belisario missed all of the 2011 campaign, stuck in his home country of Venzuela with visa complications stemming from a positive cocaine test.
Belisario, who turns 31 on Dec. 31, was 5-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 2013 with 49 strikeouts and 18 unintentional walks in 77 games and 68 innings.
In 2014 Belisario will have a familiar scenario in spring training, reporting to Camelback Ranch but now on the other side of the complex with the White Sox. He is the fifth of 13 Dodgers free agents to sign - Nick Punto signed with Oakland, Skip Schumaker found a home in Cincinnati, Ricky Nolasco got paid in Minnesota, and Brian Wilson re-upped with Los Angeles.