Marlins sign closer Heath Bell

Now that I have had time to get over the initial frustration of the Miami Marlins overspending on a closer. The deal is still pending a physical that Heath Bell is expected to take later today. The deal that the Marlins signed Bell to is expected to be a 3-year worth about $27 million. The deal will also have a vesting option for a fourth season.

Nothing against Heath Bell, he is a good pitcher and from the interviews I have seen, he seems like a decent person. I have heard stories about him being a funny guy. The truth is though, Bell last season had a regressed on his K% and is 34-years old. I will say that I do prefer the Marlins signing Bell to this type of contract rather then signing Ryan Madson to a 4-year $44 million deal he is seeking. Marlins fans should be excited that the Marlins are spending money, not the target that they signed here. Here is a look at Bell’s numbers the past three seasons.


2011 62 2/3 19.9 8.2 2.44 3.23
2010 70 30.0 9.8 1.93 2.05
2009 69 2/3 28.4 8.6 2.71 2.42
2009-2011 202 1/3 26.3 8.9 2.36 2.54


I am not a big fan of saves, but I am not going to belittle that in my post. In the past three seasons, Bell has recorded 40+ in each of them. No other closer in baseball can say that. Bell is unlikely to fall too much from his numbers the past three seasons in his time with the Marlins. But he is still not quite worth what he is being paid.

A secondary issue with Bell’s signing in Miami is the concern about the “park factors” associated with Peto Park. Peto Park is to pitchers what Coors Field is to hitters in terms of park factors. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs made some good points on how Bell has been a beneficiary of the park.  This is true, particularly in the home run department, since his arrival in San Diego in 2007 . Dave also points out that one of Bell’s primary sticking points is his home run suppression despite only recording slightly above-average ground ball rates. Moving from pitcher friendly Petco to a new stadium with uncertainty about whether it will be a pitchers or hitters park, could hurt Bell in the long run.

I am slightly a little less concerned about Bell’s numbers away from Petco. A quick look at his numbers away from San Diego make me fee a little bit better.


Bell, 2007-2011 IP K% BB% GB% HR/FB% BABIP ERA FIP
Home 200 25.1 8.6 48.5 5.8 .264 2.38 3.25
Road 174 26.5 8.8 47.2 4.1 .300 2.69 3.15


Those numbers do look decent on the road. The Marlins better hope that Bell can repeat those numbers in 2012-2014 for the Marlins. Overall, I do believe the Marlins added a solid relief pitcher to the mix, they did improve the team, but they did so at an enormous cost. If this affects the Marlins adding other players like Jose Reyes, C.J. Wilson/Mark Buehrle, and Yonneis Cespedes, I will be enraged. However, if Bell was apart of the Marlins adding at least one of those four, I will be more then thrilled. This is a good read by Ken Rosenthal about the potential message being sent by signing Bell by the Marlins.

The floor is open, please say what you guys feel about this signing. Like it, hate it, or love it? And do you believe the Marlins are done or will there be another big splash?

Tags: C.J. Wilson Heath Bell Jose Reyes Mark Buehrle Miami Marlins Yoennis Cespedes

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