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.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.
Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.
In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.
There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.