"I think there is no doubt second base is [Belliard's] best position, and he
can also play first base," general manager Jim Bowden said. "[He has] a good
"It gives us protection in the middle, flexibility in the middle, depth.
It gives us a piece like last year. With Daryle Ward, Marlon Anderson and
Royce Clayton, we were able to trade [them] at some point later in the year
to get Jhonny Nunez, Luis Atilano and Ryan Wagner. We got three young arms
[by] having that depth."
The Nationals are aware that Belliard was involved in controversy after the 2006 season. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, George Edwards tried to extort money from Belliard. The paper said that
Edwards tried to get $150,000 from Belliard in order to keep quiet about an
extramarital affair Belliard allegedly had with his daughter.
"We are satisfied what came out of the Commissioner's Office," manager Manny Acta said. "[Belliard] is
For now, Belliard will compete with D'Angelo Jimenez, Jose Macias, Josh
Wilson and Tony Womack for the backup role in the infield. While Belliard
had a productive 2006, Williams, Macias, Wilson and Womack haven't
been major contributors in recent years.
Acta is familiar with Belliard. The two worked together for the Licey Tigers
in the Dominican Winter League and the World Baseball Classic. Acta was the
manager and Belliard was his third baseman.
Acta said he spoke to Belliard recently and informed him of his role on the
"It's a great signing," Acta said. "It gives us depth up the middle -- big-time. He could fix either one of the problems. If Guzman goes down, we could
move Lopez to short. If Lopez goes down, Belliard can step in and be the
everyday guy, because that is what he has been doing for years in the big
"I know he would like to play every day, but that's not the case here. He is
coming here to be a backup guy. I'll try to find him at-bats, and he
understood the points. Obviously, he is a guy who is going to compete, but
he is ahead of [the other backups]. The numbers are there. This guy hit
[.272] last year and played in the World Series, and he has the track record."
Belliard is expected to arrive at Nationals camp on Tuesday.