Rays Lefty Jeff Beliveau and the Plight of a Quad-A Pitcher


Stability is something everyone wishes they could have. Baseball players are certainly no exception. Your knee-jerk reaction to that has to be “they’re making millions of dollars–why should they care about stability?” But especially for the lower-tier players, they would give anything just to stay in the major leagues with the same team for the entire season instead of traveling from organization to organization and city to city not knowing where they’ll be tomorrow at any given time. The prospects dream of becoming stars and signing that big contract that will keep them in the same city for a very long time. The players a tier or two below that, though, just dream of finding a spot on a 25-man roster somewhere in the major leagues. Take lefty Jeff Beliveau.

Beliveau is just 26 years old and is certainly too young to be called a minor league lifer at this point. Beliveau was originally an 18th round pick by the Chicago Cubs but he managed to work his way through the Cubs’ system until he cracked their big league squad in 2012. Beliveau made his big league debut in late July and stayed on the team the rest of the season. He didn’t pitch particularly well, managing just a 4.58 ERA in 22 appearances, and following the season, he was gone. The Rangers claimed him off waivers in December and he made a grand total of one appearance with the Rangers’ Triple-A Round Rock affiliate before he was designated for assignment again and wound up being acquired by the Rays for cash considerations. On Sunday, Beliveau finally was called up by the Rays from Triple-A Durham, and here’s what he had to say.

"“This game’s crazy,” Beliveau said. “You never know what’s going to happen. Just stay ready to play and go out there and throw strikes. You just can’t plan on anything. I’ve had people tell me don’t get too comfortable. Just always play hard. You’re playing for 29 other teams too. … This is my third organization. Hopefully this one sticks a little longer. I’m just really excited to be here.”"

Beliveau was referring to the Rays organization and not just the Rays’ major league teams when he said “Hopefully this one sticks a little longer,” and good thing that’s the case because he was sent down by the Rays after Sunday’s game. Looking at his comments, Beliveau seems to speaking candidly: he understands that the only thing he can do is pitch the best he can and that so much is out of his control. He was excited to get called up but knew that it would be a brief stint and just has to do well when he actually gets the opportunity to pitch. Beliveau was happy to be with the Rays, but he also realized that he wasn’t just pitching for the Rays but for any team in baseball needing an extra lefty reliever. Beliveau has struck out 24 in 10.1 Triple-A innings and he hopes that if he keeps playing well, the Rays will make room for him on their roster. If he pitches well and the Rays have no opening, though, he wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that he would want a trade to an organization that would give him a chance.

Jeff Beliveau is no star-studded prospect dreaming of becoming a cornerstone of the franchise that drafted him. He has been on three teams in the last six months and any delusions of grandeur he ever had have been washed away. His profession may be baseball, but he’s just an ordinary guy hoping to stay in one place and make a living, and he continues to seek out that place where he will finally be able to settle down.