Remember Heath Bell, Friars Fans? Closer, sort of portly, brought the heat with a wicked fastball, All-Star for our beloved Friars before being deemed (rightfully so from a financial perspective) too expensive to keep before the 2012 season started? Well in case some of you did forget, the Padres are sure to see a bit more of Big Heath come next season. Why exactly? Well, that is because Bell was traded to the rival Diamondbacks last week in a three team deal between Arizona, Oakland, and Miami.
The trade itself probably felt like the end of a horrible nightmare for Bell after the rocky season he just went through in Miami. After the Marlins signed him to a 3 year $27 million dollar Free Agent deal last Winter, Bell (along with most of Miami’s high priced talent) absolutely bombed in South Beach after he left the comfortable confines of San Diego and Petco Park. On the season, Bell went 4-5, racked up a 5.09 ERA in 73 Appearances (63.2 Innings Pitched), and even lost his Closer job to boot! After he recorded 132 Saves from 2009-2011 with the Padres, Bell’s Save total sunk to a paltry 19 in 2012 as he gave up career highs in Hits (70), Runs (38), and Earned Runs (36) for the last place Marlins.
By trading Bell, it appeared that Miami was just as ready to purge this offseason as they were to spend last Winter. According to CBS.Sports’ Scott Miller, the Marlins will be paying the Diamondbacks $8 million dollars to help offset the final 2 years and $18 million left on the large contract Bell signed not even one year ago. It seems that the Marlins were so eager to unload Bell that $8 million (part contract, part deferred signing bonus) did not seem like such a steep price tag after what he did/didn’t do in 2012.
Now that he is in Phoenix, Bell will be facing off against the Padres on a regular basis. Whether or not Bell will be able to recover from his dreadful 2012 season will be interesting to watch, and should prove be an interesting storyline when San Diego and Arizona face off next year. Although a difficult season like 2012 will be a struggle to get over for Bell, I am sure that a change of scenery and the chance to face some familiar foes cannot hurt the former Padre as he tries to shut down some more N.L. West foes next year.
I know that I will clap for Heath when he comes back to Petco Park, but I will sure hope that he continues to blow Saves if and when he comes out for the 9th Inning (or earlier) against the Friars.
What say you Friars Fans: Will Bell perform well in Arizona? Does he have anything left? Will he ever be a top-flight Closer again as a professional?