If this isn’t the last chance that Heath Bell will have to show a team that he still has the goods that once made him a top closer in this league, who knows what it will take? Then again, Kyle Farnsworth was recently still gainfully employed to pitch in the late innings, so who knows?
Having recently been designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays, Bell is drawing serious interest from at least four teams. According to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish:
Bell, 36, seems likely to sign a minor league contract that will have him head to Triple-A for a couple of weeks before joining a team’s major league bullpen. He was recently designated for assignment and subsequently released by the Rays, with whom he was 1-1 with a 7.27 ERA in thirteen relief appearances so far this season.”
Cotillo reports that the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles are among the teams that are interested.
Bell posted a 7.27 ERA in 13 appearances this season. Those struggles may or may not be connected to the fact that Bell’s average fastball velocity had dipped down to 91.4 MPH in that small sample size. Having created enough issues for himself by not being able to locate his fastball in recent seasons, surely a loss in velocity was not going to help matters.
Perhaps the greatest endorsement for Bell came in the form of the Rays signing him to a deal. But with them giving up on him, it will be a tough road back to a relevant role in the big leagues for the veteran.