Heath Bell is Gone, Let Us Rejoice

Saturday, October 20, 2012

That was quick. The Marlins did not even wait for the postseason to conclude to rid themselves of overpriced "proven closer," ice cream enthusiast, and legit clubhouse cancer Heath Bell, sending him to Arizona in the above three-team deal.

Our reaction:

In the annals of bad Marlins closers, Bell has to be at or near the top. In terms of disastrous play, I think Jorge Julio still has him beat, but Bell stuck around for a full season, and that has to count for something. Throw in the tidbit from the end of the season when the team locked out the media and listened to Ozzie Guillen trash Bell on the radio (after Bell did the same to Guillen in the media), and Bell is definitely the biggest clubhouse cancer in team history. He did more to divide the players than anything Hanley Ramirez ever did, but thanks to white privilege did not get called out for it nearly enough.

The Marlins likely had to pay a ton of money to dump Bell (who is due $21 million over the next two seasons). But that's a sunk cost, and Marlins fans should be happy the team recognizes that the money is better spent ensuring that Bell doesn't pitch for the Marlins.

[UPDATE: According to JCR, Marlins sent $8 million to Arizona, which we think is a BARGAIN. We were expecting a number in the $15 million range.]

As for what this means for Bell's nemesis Guiilen, Tom Green thinks it is a signal that the team will keep Ozzie. That is plausible, but I think the case could be made that the team is willing to cut bait on any contract, including Guillens (three years, $7.5 million remaining). So I'm going to keep Guillen in the "status unknown" category for now.

Larry Beinfest had this to say about the trade:
This should be a positive change. After a disappointing 2012 this gives us clarity as we begin our offseason roster improvement.
We agree.


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