The Blue Jays are interested in Heath Bell for some reason

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Pop quiz, hot shot! You’re eleven games back in the AL East with practically no hope whatsoever of contending. The trade deadline is approaching. What do you do? Tell me! What. Do. You. Do?

Well, if you’re the Blue Jays you inquire about the best closer currently available.  At least that’s what Ken Rosenthal says that the Jays are doing, calling on the Padres about Heath Bell.

It makes little sense, though Rosenthal says that they’re looking at him long term rather than just as a rental, and that having him in-house as the season ends would give them a leg up in negotiations.  Maybe — I have no idea how Bell’s bread is buttered and maybe he likes to stay in places where he’s comfy — but it seems odd that they’s want to give up anything of value for him under such risky circumstances.

And even if it were simply fishing for draft pick compensation following an arbitration offer this fall, it strikes me that whatever they’d have to give up for him would largely offset the value of those picks, so why bother?

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.