Nationals release Heath Bell

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Washington released veteran reliever Heath Bell, who signed a minor-league deal with the Nationals in December.

Bell showed up to camp in The Best Shape Of His Life and would have earned $1 million for cracking the Opening Day roster, but the 37-year-old former All-Star closer struggled in a handful of appearances.

As recently as 2013 he was a decent middle reliever with a good strikeout rate, so Bell should be able to latch on somewhere else if he wants to keep the comeback attempt going.

A couple of former major leaguers choose to stay in Asia

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Two guys who spent some time in the bigs but who have found more success in Asia have decided to stay in Asia.

Darin Ruf has re-signed with the Samsung Lions of KBO, per MLB Trade Rumors. Ruf, who played five years for the Phillies but didn’t really have the numbers to stick, has stuck just fine in Korea. In two seasons in the offense-friendly league he has hit 64 homers and has put up a line of .322/.412/.587. His new deal with Samsung will pay him a guaranteed $1.4 million with $300K in potential bonuses.

The other guy — Nick Martinez — has signed a $2.5 million plus incentives deal to stay with the Nippon Ham Fighters of NPB. The former Rangers starter went 10-11 with a 3.51 ERA for the Fighters in 2018. He was 17-30 with a 4.77 ERA in four seasons with Texas.

Maybe Ruf and Martinez still have U.S. major league dreams, but guaranteed bucks in the Korean and Japanese majors is better than signing minor league deals and riding busses here.