For the third time this season Heath Bell blew a save and then took a loss, unraveling against the Mets in an extremely ugly outing.
Bell began the ninth inning with a 2-1 lead and walked four the first five batters he faced, with one ground out mixed in. His fourth walk forced in the tying run and then, with the bases still loaded and two outs, he served up a walk-off single to Kirk Nieuwenhuis on his 46th pitch.
Bell is 0-3 with a 9.53 ERA and more walks (7) than strikeouts (5) in 5.2 innings, blowing three of his five save chances.
And the “proven closer” isn’t even one month into his three-year, $27 million contract that pays him through age 36.
When the Marlins gave veteran closer Heath Bell a three-year, $27 million free agent contract this winter, most people called it an overpay. Two weeks into the 2012 regular season, it’s looking like an abomination.
Bell surrendered four runs — two earned — in the top of the ninth inning of Saturday night’s 5-4 loss to the light-hitting Astros, who were held (quite easily) to one run through the game’s first eight frames.
Last Sunday, Bell yielded four hits and two earned runs in a blown save opportunity against the Reds.
The 34-year-old right-hander is now 0-for-2 in save chances with Miami and is sporting a brutal 12.00 ERA and 3.67 WHIP in three total innings of work (four relief appearances). His fastball is averaging 92.7 mph, down from the 94.0 mph mean that he registered in his final season with the Padres.
“I feel like crap,” Bell told beat writer Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel late Saturday night. “It’s really hard to look at my teammates and them have confidence in me because I haven’t had it. I have confidence in my ability, but I haven’t shown them I can do it.”
It’s probably safe to assume that the Fish are suddenly missing Juan Carlos Oviedo.
UPDATE: Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports that it’s a done deal, with the Padres assuming “most” of Street’s contract and sending the Rockies a player to be named later in exchange.
UPDATE: According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post the Rockies are eating $1 million of Street’s salary.
Colorado is having “extensive talks” with San Diego about reliever Huston Street, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post has repeatedly reported that the Rockies are looking to trade Street and might even be willing to eat the majority of his contract to get a decent prospect in return for the former closer.
Olney describes the talks as “ongoing” and Street has been linked to several other teams at various points this month, with the Rockies now preferring Rafael Betancourt in the ninth inning.
He’s pricey at $7.5 million with a $9 million option or $500,000 buyout for 2013, but Street is still just 28 years old with a 3.11 career ERA that includes a 3.50 ERA and outstanding 170/33 K/BB ratio in 167 innings for the Rockies. Toss in the fact that going from Coors Field to Petco Park would solve his issues keeping the ball in the ballpark and Street could really thrive in San Diego as Heath Bell’s replacement.
Ken Davidoff of New York Newsday reports that the Padres are considering Francisco Rodriguez as a potential replacement for Heath Bell, who recently signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Marlins.
Davidoff hears that they are also speaking with “pretty much all” of the other available free agent closer-types, so it’s hard to tell if their interest is all that serious. They’ll probably end up with someone, but remember that the Padres at least have two promising internal candidates for the ninth inning in Luke Gregerson and Ernesto Frieri.
With closing opportunities beginning to dry up around MLB, K-Rod is faced with an interesting dilemma over the next 24 hours. He could earn a raise from the $11 million he made this season if he accepts arbitration from the Brewers, but he would potentially be stuck in a set-up role again. For what it’s worth, MLB Network’s Peter Gammons reported Tuesday night that he plans to decline arbitration.
Not that it would have mattered considering the Marlins’ willingness to throw around money, but Heath Bell revealed yesterday that he never got an offer of any kind from the Padres.
During his introductory Marlins press conference Bell repeated his season-long stance that he “really wanted to stay in San Diego for me, the family and the kids.” However, according to the closer the Padres stopped all negotiations “two days after the trading deadline.”
Bell also said that he “never had a conversation” with new general manager Josh Byrnes after Jed Hoyer left to take the Cubs job.
Ultimately it was a moot point, because the Padres were never going to offer anything close to three years and $27 million, but the lack of communication seems odd.