Former Padres’ closer Heath Bell. Mandatory Credit: zimbio.com
Bell was traded by the Arizona Diomandbacks to the Tampa Bay Rays in a 3-way deal that also included the Reds. In his time in Tampa Bay, Bell was not sharp posting a 7.27 ERA in 13 appearances before being released in May.
He then signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore and pitched to a 4.22 ERA over 10 2/3 innings, but has decided he wants to opt out of his deal.
A fan favorite of Padres’ fans in his time with the team from 2007-2011, Bell was also very effective, recording 134 saves in his tenure with the Friars, and led the National League in saves in 2009 with 42, and was also a 3-time All-Star
Much like many other fan favorites for San Diego though, Bell departed for more money in 2012, signing with the Miami Marlins, who were stockpiling talent at the time. Ever since Bell left San Diego, he has been incredibly ineffective, and has been with four different teams in three years not having an ERA less than four in that time.
If there is one spot where the Padres don’t need any help right now it’s in their bullpen, where unlike their offense, they are one of the best in baseball.
So don’t expect the Padres to take a run at Bell, and sign him to a major league deal and be put right onto the 25-man roster. However, after this weekend when we saw Josh Byrnes use a draft pick on Johnny Manziel, it would not be surprising to see him join the Padres in either a minor league or coaching capacity.
Bell is 36-years-old, so he most likely will not be looking to retire just yet, but it may be a while before a team signs him. A possible landing spot will be a minor league contract with a team trying to add depth, but seeing as he just opted out of a minor league deal, he may not go that route.
More likely, Bell will wait for August and September to roll around, and wait for a team in the pennant race, who may have lost a reliever, and are looking to add a veteran presence, to give him a call.