When you sign a three-year, $27 million deal to serve as a team’s closer you tend to get plenty of chances and not surprisingly Ozzie Guillen is ready to give Heath Bell another crack at the Marlins’ closer role.
Bell hasn’t gotten a save opportunity since coughing up three runs to blow a game against the Cardinals on July 8, at which point he was 19-for-25 converting saves with a 6.75 ERA and 32/20 K/BB ratio in 35 innings.
Since then Bell has logged 10 consecutive scoreless appearances, throwing a total of nine innings with an 8/3 K/BB ratio and .107 opponents’ batting average.
“That was his job,” Guillen told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. “He wasn’t doing what he was supposed to do and we made that decision. Right now, I think he’s pitched good enough to get back to the closer role.”
Fill-in close Steve Cishek has pitched plenty well all season with a 1.74 ERA in 47 innings, but this isn’t really about Cishek. It’s about Bell, Bell’s contract, and the fact that the Marlins owe him another $20 million or so through 2014.
UPDATE: Olney just killed everyone’s buzz. BUT I STILL BELIEVE, MAN!
2:01 PM: This sounds like a total hot mess of a trade rumor, but I freakling LOVE hot messes, so:
Nightengale has updated it with a longer story citing three sources. Wowzers. Where to begin.
On a dollars and cents scale, this would easily be one of the biggest trades in baseball history, as Crawford, Ramirez and Bell are owed nearly $240 million among them. It would also involve a big problem (Bell stinks this year) a lesser, but more chronic problem (Ramirez’s increasingly erratic production and always interesting attitude) and an absolute sell-low guy (Crawford, who is TWO GAMES back from injuries and still near the beginning of a monster deal).
Given the ascension of Will Middlebrooks, this would certainly mean that Ramirez would be a shortstop again. Which would make his bat more valuable, but it’s a position one wonders how long he can handle. Crawford’s game may be better suited to Marlins Park, but again, why the Red Sox would give up on him now when his stock can only rise? It’s not like the Marlins are going to take that whole contract on, are they?
Such a trade would raise more questions than it would answer. I don’t get it, and I suspect that this is just one of those things people shoot the breeze about more than they seriously contemplate it.
But if it were to happen? Wow!
Ozzie Guillen on Heath Bell in the second half. No pressure:
“If Heath Bell does not pitch the way he should be pitching, we are not going anywhere,’’ Guillen said. “If he continues to pitch the way he has pitched, we’re done.’’
Not that he’s wrong.
I didn’t see it, but I’m told that there is a tense scene in that “Franchise” show featuring the Marlins in which Bell goes up to Guillen and wants him to commit to Bell as the Marlins’ closer despite his troubles. Given Bell’s insecurity about it, given his continued poor performance and given Guillen’s comments here, being Heath Bell is probably not a lot of fun right now.