Orioles Acquire Mike Belfiore From D’Backs For Josh Bell

The Orioles traded third-baseman Josh Bell over to Arizona last month, and the Diamondbacks now have sent over left-handed pitcher Mike Belfiore to complete that deal. Bell was mostly a disappointment in Baltimore after coming over from the Dodgers in the George Sherrill trade. His plate discipline went south, as he hit just .200/.221/.264 when he got a chance in the Majors and posted a 197-63 strike-out to walk ratio in Triple-A in 2010-11. Since switching organizations, Bell has hit .420/.457/.638 with 11 K’s to 8 walks – the strike-out rate of 14% is way lower than the 20-27% he had been posting for the Birds. At 25 years old, there’s still a little time for Bell to make an impact in the Majors, but it’s drawing short.

Belfiore was mostly a starter when he came into pro-ball, but has slowly moved into the bullpen – this year all of his appearances have been in relief. He’s taken to that pretty well so far – 28 K’s to 5 walks in 19 IP – but being 23 years old in High-A Ball isn’t terribly impressive. The O’s have assigned the lefty to Double-A, where hopefully he can continue that same level of success. Marc Hulet rated Belfiore as one of Arizona’s top 10 prospects a year ago, when it seemed like he might still start:

“His ground-ball rate was average in ’10 but he has a history of producing above-average worm-burning rates. Belfiore was a closer in college, so he’s still adjusting to life as a starting pitcher…. Value-wise, I can see Belfiore fitting in comfortably between those two pitchers (ie. a No. 3 or 4 starter in his prime). His repertoire includes a low-90s fastball, good changeup and an inconsistent breaking ball.”

Looks like #3-4 starter is way out the window, but decent LOOGY is still on the table. Considering the O’s hole at third-base, trading Bell away for (hopefully) a reliever says something about either what the team thought of Bell (not much) or of Belfiore (a decent amount). Guess we’ll see.