Rearick, a 2010 draftee, was named Rays’ minor league relief pitcher of the year in back-to-back seasons following successful stints as closer for both of the organization’s Class-A affiliates. He has put up solid numbers as a professional but has always been a bit old for his level (he turned 25 earlier this month). Despite the big strikeout numbers, he lacks the velocity to match, making it unlikely he turns into anything special going forward. Nevertheless, he could carve out a career as a lefty specialist.
In return, the Rays receive infielder Vince Belnome. Drafted a year ahead of Rearick, in 2009, the 24-year-old has produced solid offensive numbers while roaming the infield. Various injuries have limited his playing time over the past few seasons. Defensively, Belnome is more steady than spectacular. After playing the hot corner early on in his career, he now spends most his time on the right side of the infield playing first and second base—positions where range isn’t as big of a factor.
The bulk of Belnome’s value resides in his left-handed bat. Though his frame is relatively small – standing under six foot – he has exhibited considerable pop as a pro. In addition to flashing power, the West Virginia University product has earned stellar walk rates including 14 percent at Triple-A last season.
An offense-first infielder, batting from the left side, with average defensive abilities, Belnome sounds like the organizational replacement for the recently traded Derek Dietrich. Though Dietrich has a overall higher ceiling, Belnome comes with a more mature approach and a step closer to the big leagues. He may never reach the top level, but it is not impossible to project him as a utility player with some offensive competency off the bench.