Marlins get proven leader in Heath Bell
December, 2, 2011
By Jim Bowden | ESPN Insider
AP Photo/Lenny IgnelziIn Bell, the Marlins got a veteran who can offer leadership to a young team.
Just when we thought the Miami Marlins were only window shopping, they stepped up and showed they mean business.
Pending a physical, it looks like the Marlins have their closer, signing Heath Bell to a three-year contract reportedly worth $27 million, with a vesting option for $9 million as reported by Jayson Stark last night. Bell will replace Juan Carlos Oviedo, formerly known as Leo Nunez.
Shortly after this signing the Marlins are expected to non-tender Oviedo/Nunez, who was suspended toward the end of the 2011 season because of identity-discrepancy issues.
As for Bell, 34, the big right-hander has logged 132 saves the last three seasons, the most in baseball. During that span, he's allowed just 6.5 percent of his inherited runners score, ranking him the best in baseball, as well as posting the second-best ERA (2.36) of all closers. A three-time All-Star, the guy is a leader and a winner. He should be a positive influence on all of the young Marlins relievers like he was for the Padres. He cut his teeth under future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman and carried the torch after Hoffman’s departure from San Diego after the 2008 season.