The Nationals signed reliever Heath Bell to a minor league deal on Monday. His contract details are now known, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports: Bell will earn a base salary of $1 million and can earn an additional $1 million in incentives.
Bell, 37, has had a miserable three years since leaving the Padres. Over 146 2/3 innings, the right-hander has a 4.91 ERA with a 143/53 K/BB ratio. According to FanGraphs, his average fastball velocity is down to 91.4 MPH compared to 93.2 in 2013.
Heath Bell, who got knocked around for the Rays to begin this year and then spent most of the season at Triple-A for the Yankees’ affiliate, has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Nationals.
Bell was an All-Star closer as recently as 2011 and struck out 72 batters in 66 innings in 2013, but he was a mess for Tampa Bay this year and wasn’t any better in the minors.
At age 37 he looks done, but on a minor-league contract there’s no risk involved for the Nationals and perhaps Bell still has another 50 decent innings in him as a middle reliever.
Heath Bell signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees on June 13, but after five unimpressive appearances at Triple-A they’ve released the 36-year-old reliever.
Bell was previously released from Triple-A by the Orioles, who signed him to a minor-league deal after he was cut from the Rays’ big-league team. Overall this season he has a 5.40 ERA in 17 innings at Triple-A and a 7.27 ERA in 17 innings as a big leaguer.
Also of note: Bell is still being paid $9 million this season as part of his original $27 million contract with the Marlins, who dumped him on the Rays in December while agreeing to cover about half of that money.