Padres closer Heath Bell won Major League Baseball’s Delivery Man of the Year Award in 2010 with a shiny 1.93 ERA and 47 saves in 50 chances.
His winter has not gone as smoothly.
First he was named in several different trade scenarios, then he came down with typhoid fever while vacationing in the islands of the south Pacific Ocean.
According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, Bell caught the bug while staying on the Fijian island of Tavarua. It didn’t hit him until a few days later, when he was in Hawaii and hoping to renew his marital vows with his wife Nicole.
Instead of enjoying the sun and beautiful beaches of Maui, Bell spent most of his time in an emergency room as doctors fought a battle against bacteria in his bloodstream.
All is well now.
Typhoid fever varies from serious to mild and Bell escaped without any long-term effects. He was spotted at the Padres’ Holiday Caravan in good health and good spirits, and he should be back to 100 percent health by the opening of spring training.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.