With the recent bullpen problems that the Dodgers have had, nobody should be getting their hopes up that assistance will be coming out of Venezuela soon in the name of Ronald Belisario.
|Ronald Belisario in happier times, undergoing rookie bag toting rituals|
Ronald Belisario. Remember him? I predicted on February 16th that he wouldn’t be reporting at all this season immediately after news came out with contradictary information from his agent and later Belisario that he wouldn’t and then would be reporting to Spring Training. Since I work on these types of issues on a daily basis, I knew that Belisario was in the middle of a deep immigration problem. The man was found inadmissible by State Department officials due to his admitted addictions and criminal history.
|ESPN Deportes Reporter, Enrique Rojas|
Today, Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes tweeted that Belisario won’t be receiving a U.S. Visa this year. What his sources are, I don’t know, but he seems to have his pulse on the latest news of the Latin American players. Rojas’ information simply confirms earlier news we received from Belisario’s agent, Paul Kinser, on February 17th of this year. Any hopes of “the bowler” returning to the Dodger staff this year are pretty much gone.
Assistance in the Dodger bullpen is needed desperately now with lackluster starts from Broxton, Jansen, Hawksworth, and Cormier. The injury to Kuo further complicates things. Perhaps Vicente Padilla is a possible answer to the closer situation, but he’s unproven in that role and still undergoing extended Spring Training.
With regards to the closer’s role, all I have to say is this. For a good portion of Broxton’s career, he was amongst the best reliever’s of the game. In fact, as recently as last June 26th, (when he had an midseason ERA of 0.83), prior to the Yankee game (the 27th) where Joe Torre left Broxton out to die and throw 50 pitches in the 9th inning. Jonathan Broxton was viewed as the best closer in the National League. The man was chosen to close last year’s All Star game. Often overlooked is that he did record the save in that game, as shaky as it was, it was a save.
Something happened after that game June 27th game. Whether it is mental, physical or a combination of both, I squarely blame this on Joe Torre who may have destroyed a career in the process of attempting to massage his ego by winning an almost meaningless regular season game against the Yankees on National TV.
I agreed with Mattingly’s approach in handling his closer this season. He has expressed confidence and so far, Broxton’s poor performance this season has not really cost him a game. Broxton new nickname should be “Full Pack II,” because he is apt to fill the bases with runners and allow runs at a precarious rate. I really hope he regains his confidence, repertoire of pitches and returns to form. Heaven knows the Dodgers need him.
And to those that are expecting another Eric Gagne again, I say, forget it. We’ll never see another dominant closer like Gagne’s 2002-2004 seasons again.
Think of the bright side. They could have a closer named Ryan Franklin on the roster.
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