As the dust settled from Thursday’s trade deadline, there were many implications for the Tampa Bay Rays. First and foremost was the impact of the David Price deal, but holding onto guys like Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce will have a big impact. Another impact as the trade deadline passed- Jeff Beliveau finally seems to have a lock on a big league roster spot.
Beliveau has had quite a tumultuous career. After parts of 5 season in the minor leagues, Beliveau made his big league debut with the Cubs in 2012, but it was after that cup of coffee that things got crazy for Beliveau. He was claimed off the waivers by the Texas Rangers that December and was subsequently designated for assignment and traded to the Rays for cash considerations in April 2013. Since then, Beliveau has seen 9 different stints with the Rays as a fill-in for the Rays, totaling a grand total of just 6.2 innings. In fact, it was in his 9th time with the Rays that Beliveau made his debut at Tropicana Field, so needless to say he was never on the big league roster for any significant piece of time. But now in his 9th duty of action with the Rays, Beliveau is here to stay.
After being promoted on July 22nd when Joel Peralta hit the DL, it seemed like it could be another short stint for Beliveau. But then everything started falling into place. When Jeremy Hellickson was called up, the Rays designated veteran Juan Carlos Oviedo for assignment rather than send down Beliveau. Then Peralta returned, and the Rays DFA’d Erik Bedard while keeping Beliveau around. However Beliveau was still holding his breath- the trade deadline was approaching and there was at least a small chance the Rays would trade for a reliever. But the deadline passed with no relievers added. Beliveau remains on the Rays roster, and barring unexpected poor performance or injury he will remain there for the rest of the season.
Ultimately it was Beliveau taking the spot of Oviedo- and the reasoning is simple. Oviedo’s role as a right-handed middle reliever was redundant, but the Rays needed a lefty specialist to ensure Jake McGee could be saved until the 8th or 9th inning. Beliveau gives them a guy to get a key out or two against lefties, and that ensures McGee doesn’t have to come into a game just to get 1 or 2 outs. This season at Triple-A, he has put up an outstanding 1.50 ERA, 12.8 K/9. and 3.5 BB/9. Also more significant for his role- he has held left-handed batters to a .192/.247/.255 line since 2011. Simply put, Beliveau will do just fine as the lefty specialist in the Rays ‘pen.
For the Rays, giving Beliveau the spot was the right choice- Oviedo wasn’t doing anything special and the Rays got a pitcher that fits the needs of their bullpen. Jeff Beliveau is finally getting his shot in the big leagues, and you always have to love when a guy gets a chance to live his dream.