Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have granted Heath Bell his release, a week after they designated the right-hander for assignment.
Bell, 36, struggled in his brief time with the Rays, posting a 7.27 ERA in 17 1/3 innings over 13 relief appearances. He has not found success since leaving sunny San Diego following the 2011 season. In the time since, he has joined the Marlins, Diamondbacks, and Rays and has a disappointing 4.91 ERA to show for it.
Still, considering that Joel Hanrahan recently found work with the Tigers, it’s hard to imagine Bell getting passed over by 29 teams, most of which could use a veteran arm in the bullpen.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.