Rays sign Belisario, Casilla to Minors deals
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays on Monday added to their depth heading into Spring Training by officially signing right-hander Ronald Belisario, infielder Alexi Casilla and left-hander Robert Zarate to Minor League contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training.
The club also invited the following Minor League players to camp: shortstop Daniel Robertson, outfielder Boog Powell, catcher Luke Maile, infielder/outfielder Taylor Motter, infielder Vince Belnome, and right-handers Andrew Bellatti, Dylan Floro and Brandon Gomes.
The Rays have now invited 62 players to camp.
Belisario, 32, fits the profile of the veteran reliever the Rays have brought to camp in recent years, dating back to the likes of Joaquin Benoit, Juan Cruz and Joel Peralta, to name a few. Based on that past, it would not be a surprise to see Belisario compete for a spot in the bullpen.
The veteran went 4-8 with a 5.56 ERA and eight saves over 66 1/3 innings for the White Sox last season.
Casilla, 30, will bring veteran comfort to an infield that has seen the departures of middle infielders Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar, leaving behind Logan Forsythe, Nick Franklin and Tim Beckham.
Casilla has spent parts of nine seasons in the Majors with the Twins and Orioles, primarily playing second base while seeing some time at shortstop and third base.
Zarate, 28, pitched this winter for the Tigres de Aragua of the Venezuelan Winter League after spending 2012-13 with the Hanshin Tigers of the Japan Central League. He pitched in the Blue Jays system from 2006 to 2008, going 2-3 with a 2.42 ERA.
Minor League invitees Robertson and Powell were acquired from the A's in exchange for Zobrist and Escobar. Robertson, MLBPipeline.com's No. 65 overall prospect, hit .310 for Class A Advanced Stockton last season before earning a promotion to Double-A Midland for the club's playoff run.
Powell, 22, split last season between Class A Beloit and Stockton, leading the A's system with a .343 average and .451 on-base percentage.
Belnome made his Major League debut last season, joining the Rays for four games over three stints in which he went 1-for-10. Gomes, 30, split last season between Tampa Bay and Triple-A Durham, appearing in 29 Major League games over three callups. Over the last four years in the Majors, he's 9-6 with a 4.17 ERA in 110 games.
Bellatti, a reliever, and Floro, a starter, pitched for Double-A Montgomery in 2014. Maile also played for the Biscuits last season and was named a Southern League midseason All-Star. Motter, 25, hit .274 and hit 16 homers while setting a club record with 24 outfield assists in 119 games for Montgomery, earning a spot on the Southern League's midseason and postseason All-Star teams.