Heath Bell [all together now!] claims he was taken out of context

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Yesterday Heath Bell was on a radio show and ripped Ozzie Guillen.  It was pretty straight forward, yes?  Well, no, because like just about everyone else who didn’t realize that they said something controversial until after he said it, Bell has gone into damage control mode and now claims he didn’t mean what everyone heard him say.

He was on “Power Alley” with Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin on MLB Network Radio today — you can listen here — and he said he didn’t think he said anything wrong. When asked if he was misinterpreted, he said:

“I think it was.  I was never criticizing Ozzie.  I don’t think that’s what I was doing on the radio.  I was choosing my words kind of right …  I never said I don’t respect him as a manager or a person.

Wait, time out, Heath: this is what you said:  “It’s hard to respect a guy that doesn’t tell you the truth or doesn’t tell you face to face.”  And then you said Ozzie Guillen didn’t tell you the truth and didn’t tell you face to face.  Now I’m confused.  Let me think … I want to give you the benefit of the doubt here because I kinda like your style, so let me be your spin doctor …. thinking …

Got it!!  Though it is hard to respect such a man, you fought through that crap and did it anyway.  Really, Ozzie should be thanking you for your strength!  You’re one HELL Of a guy.

Bell went on:

It is interesting, I think, to play underneath a manager like Ozzie because he talks to the press and he does a lot of things and he’s loud.  But you know what?  You know, I’ve had good managers, I’ve had bad managers and I don’t think Ozzie’s the reason why we really stunk this year.  I think for me not performing to the next guy not performing.  And that’s the reason we didn’t win this year.  It’s not because of Ozzie.

Heath Bell pivots pretty quick for a big dude.  OK, Heath, Ozzie isn’t the problem. Who is?

Everybody’s trying to point at Ozzie or somebody in this organization … I just think everybody’s trying to point fingers why we didn’t win.

But not, you, right. You didn’t try to point a finger and say something you shouldn’t have, did you?

And, you know, did I say something I probably shouldn’t have?  Yes, I did.  I’m going to own up to it.

Good. Nice to see that humility. This is actually progress:

But you know what?  I’m not going to back down from anybody.

But … but … with the owning up and the … I’m so confused …

Apparently I just have to keep my mouth shut. Next year I’m not going to talk to anybody for the simple fact [that] it’s not doing me any good.

OK, we’re back to agreeing on something. Nice interview, Heath.

Report: Astros extend Justin Verlander for two years, $66 million

Justin Verlander
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The Astros are in agreement with right-hander Justin Verlander on a two-year, $66 million extension, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com was among those to report on Friday. With no money deferred, the $33 million he’ll receive over the next two years will set a record AAV for major-league pitchers; something MLB Network’s Jon Heyman says matters to Verlander, who “cares how his deals affect markets (and fellow players).”

While it’s far from the five-year, $100 million extension teammate Alex Bregman signed with the club on Friday, the deal will give the Astros a bigger window to consider their long-term plans for the ace before he hits free agency again. Prior to Saturday’s agreement, Verlander’s original contract — the hefty seven-year, $180 million arrangement he reached with the Tigers in 2013 — was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

It’s difficult to overestimate the value Verlander has provided to the Astros since they acquired him from the Tigers back in 2017. He was named the 2017 ALCS MVP following seven shutout innings in a must-win Game 6 performance and helped the Astros clinch their first franchise World Series title. In 2018, he earned his seventh career All-Star distinction and received consideration for both AL Cy Young and MVP awards after pitching to a 16-9 record in 34 starts with a 2.52 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 12.2 SO/9 (the product of a career-high 290 strikeouts), and 6.7 fWAR over 214 innings.

The deal has not been confirmed by the team.