The Cubs are "kicking the tires" on Heath Bell

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Whatever that means. It’s Phil Rogers’ phrase. Maybe they’re talking to the Padres about him, maybe they’re just talking about talking.

Either way, if the Cubs snagged Bell off the Padres, they’d go into their second straight season with someone who will likely push Carlos Marmol into a setup roll.  Granted, Bell (42 saves; 79Ks in 69 IP, 2.71 ERA) is a hell of a lot better than Kevin Gregg was, but Marmol didn’t take well to being the setup man last season, hitting guys and walking guys like crazy until Gregg got demoted and Marmol turned his season around. There were suggestions that he was erratic because his ego was bruised over losing a closer’s job he thought was his. Could it happen again if they brought in Gregg?

Ultimately, though, I’d rather have as many good arms as I could find and let Piniella figure it all out as opposed to anointing someone closer and calling it a day.

Phillies option Hector Neris to Triple-A

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The Phillies announced that they’ve optioned right-hander Hector Neris to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Nerris, who saved 26 games as the Phillies closer in 2017 and ten games in that role this year, has struggled this year, posting a 6.00 ERA in 30 appearances. While his strikeout and walk rates aren’t too far off what he was doing last year his hit rate has spiked and he’s currently allowing 10.3 safeties per nine. The wheels have come off of late, as he has allowed nine runs on 15 hits — five of them homers — over his last eight innings of work. Yesterday he allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a game the Phillies had led by five.

It was clear that Gabe Kapler had lost faith in Neris as a result, using him almost exclusively in low-leverage situations. That changed on Saturday, as Kapler used him in a save situation and said after the game that they were easing him back into his role. That plan obviously changed after yesterday’s meltdown.

Seranthony Dominguez had been getting the call in save situations. He’ll get them more now.