Beliveau Looks To Win Job In Cubs' Bullepn
MESA, ARIZ.—Sean Marshall is gone, and the Cubs didn't go outside the organization to replace him after a trade that sent him to the Reds. That has created competition for his spot in the bullpen.
"The new regime, they seem like they mean business," 25-year-old lefthander Jeff Beliveau said. "They're trying to win, and I think they're going to put guys who perform on the field, which is the way it's supposed to be. I'm pretty excited."
The Cubs hope that Beliveau, Scott Maine or John Gaub will emerge as a significant lefthanded contributor in new manager Dale Sveum's bullpen. To do that, they must show that they can get five or six outs at a time, which was Marshall's calling card.
Beliveau is the youngest guy in this mix. He's also riding momentum entering camp after a 2011 season that ended with him pitching well for Team USA in the World Cup and Pan American Games last fall.
Beliveau, an 18th-round draft pick from Florida Atlantic in 2008, attacks the strike zone with a fastball that peaks in the low 90s. He has natural deception from his movement and complements the fastball with a solid change and get-me-over curveball.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Believeau went 1-0, 1.42 in his five outings with Team USA, striking out nine and walking one in six innings. That followed a 2011 season when he went 6-2, 1.57 in 74 innings for high Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee, earning him the team's minor league pitcher of the year award. He led Southern League relievers in WHIP (0.81) and opponent average (.183).
In the process, Beliveau went from being a relative unknown in the organization to a guy whose reliability could make him a long-term asset for Theo Epstein's construction project. The job this spring is to hang onto the Cubs uniform he was assigned at the start of spring training.
"It's definitely realistic," Beliveau said about winning a job. "It's not out of the cards, but it's going to take some hard work."
• After months of slow-moving talks, the Cubs agreed to send righthander Chris Carpenter to the Red Sox as compensation for Epstein. The deal also includes two moving parts, with the teams swapping players to be named later that will be identified after spring training.
• Welington Castillo and the lefthanded-hitting Steve Clevenger will compete for the Cubs' backup catcher job, and their development could influence the decision on signing starter Geovany Soto to a contract extension or trading him. He's two years away from free agency.