We learned today, from Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times and Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that the Dodgers signed Ronnie Belliard to what appears to be an $825k one year deal. The deal is said to also have about $250k in incentives, which pushes the deal over the million dollar mark.
We also learned that the Dodgers have apparently also signed Brand Ausmus to a one year deal believed to be close to the million dollar mark, via Buster Olney on Twitter.
I feel that Belliard has always been a professional hitter that can play good defense from time to time as well. He performed admirably last season batting .351 while with the Dodgers. His season average was around .277 so it is very clear that hitting in the mighty Dodgers lineup was a huge advantage.
Here is another reason why I like this deal. After watching the team from the field, dugout, and locker room last season as the representative of LADodgerTalk.com I got to see how much the other players really enjoyed his antics. To be more specific, Manny, Furcal, and Belliard were like the three musketeers! Its their culture and passion for baseball that bind these Latin all-stars. And I guarantee that Manny and Furcal have just improved a notch in 2010 because they will have this “Mini-Manny” with his jovial antics and mouth full of food constantly around all season.
This move makes us very versatile and deep with our infield, which I have learned is very important over the long season.
The Ausmus signing was great too. He also hit admirably in limited time as a backup last season. He hit .295 in about 107 at bats. His biggest assets to the team are the veteran leadership and defense. I think that Martin will get more rest this season as well. Even though Martin cut down his innings caught he still lead the league and there has to be some fatigue factor there. Although seeing Martin in the locker room I can tell you that he is VERY good shape, ripped with muscle head to toe. But catching an entire season is enough to make even Lance Armstrong fold.
More importantly on the Ausmus signing was that the Giants and the Padres got denied! So plus plus on the Ausmus deal!
Looks like good ole Ned was a very busy boy today!
UPDATE: Dodgers.com JUST now broke the story on Belliard. Still not official report on Ausmus but I am sure it is coming soon, as Gurnick states in his Belliard story.