Heath Bell on Ozzie Guillen: “It’s hard to respect a guy that doesn’t tell you the truth”

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Heath Bell made a local radio appearance on “The Dan Sileo Show” in Miami today and had some not-so-nice things to say about Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen.

“It’s hard to respect a guy that doesn’t tell you the truth or doesn’t tell you face to face,” Bell said on 560-WQAM. “There’s probably reasons why.”

Bell is upset with how his demotion from the closer role was handled and with his lack of an opportunity to reclaim the job despite pitching fairly well of late:

I stunk in April, plain and simple. I said I stunk, I worked hard, I busted my butt. I think I’ve had a tremendous second half. I’m not closing–I know that. But I just kept my mouth shut because I want to regain what I had, and I feel like I can’t do that. …

It’s just one of those things that–what you see is what you get. I’m not going to be two-faced. I’m not going to sneak around your back and say this and that.

Ripping someone on the radio doesn’t count as “around your back” does it? Just double-checking.

Bell’s beef with Guillen is no surprise, as the Showtime cameras captured the two of them having a relatively heated discussion in the manager’s office before “The Franchise” reality series was canceled earlier this season.

Bell has a 5.19 ERA overall this season, but since being stripped of closing duties in June he’s thrown 26 innings with a 3.12 ERA and 25/7 K/BB ratio. He’s owed $9 million next season and $9 million in 2014, so odds are whether Guillen is still the Marlins’ manager or not Bell will get another crack at ninth-inning duties.

I hope Hanley Ramirez and Fredi Gonzalez are getting a good chuckle out of all this, at least.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.