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.
It used to be that the top dog in a team’s baseball operations department was the general manager. That has changed over the past several years with some combination of title inflation, a genuine addition of supervisory layers and, on some level, employe poaching insurance leading to the top dog now being called, usually, a “president of baseball operations.”
Brewers’ general manager David Stearns is the latest to assume that tile, as the club just announced that he has been promoted to Milwaukee’s president of baseball operations. He has also received a contract extension of unknown length.
Not a big shock given how well the Brewers did in 2018, winning the NL Central title and playing in the NLCS. It’s also worth noting — with a nod to that “employee poaching insurance” item above — that Stearns has drawn some interest from other organizations. It’s thus not unfair to see the promotion is both a thanks for a job well done and a means of keeping other teams’ hands off of him, as employees are generally not given permission to interview for lateral moves, but are given permission to interview for promotions.
The Mudville Nine may have wanted to steal him from Milwaukee, but for Stearns to get a promotion from where he is now would require the creation of some other lofty title.