Tag:Heath Bell
Posted on: December 8, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Angels swoop in, steal Marlins thunder -- for now



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- In one fell swoop, the Miami Marlins had their thunder stolen.

First, let's set the scene.

The annual Major League Baseball Winter Meetings always come to a close on a Thursday. In most years, the hotel lobby is hopping like mad for Monday through Wednesday but is a veritable ghost town come post-lunch time Thursday. There's the Rule 5 Draft Thursday morning, and by late afternoon most writers are either already home or preparing to fly out.

At about 7 a.m. Thursday morning, the Marlins were the huge story of the Winter Meetings. Not only had they landed a trio of All-Stars in Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell -- committing $191 million in future payroll to the three -- but they were also attached to rumors on Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and sometimes even Prince Fielder throughout the week. When Marlins' brass Jeffrey Loria, Larry Beinfest and David Samson walked through the lobby earlier in the week, a flock of reporters and cameramen were following them like paparazzi clings to Kim Kardashian or Brad Pitt. New manager Ozzie Guillen had a Joker-like permanent smile on his face. The Marlins were, as one writer remarked on Twitter, the "belles of the ball."

MLB Winter Meetings
Thursday morning, however, the Angels went out and signed the biggest name in baseball: Albert Pujols. Then, within minutes, they added All-Star starting pitcher C.J. Wilson. New Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto held a press conference to announce both signings and field questions.

And when everyone leaves the meetings for good, the top team that will stick out in everyone's mind is the Los Angeles Angels, not the Miami Marlins.

This was not what owner Jeffrey Loria wanted. This was supposed to be the Marlins' time. They are moving into a new stadium that they'd waited on for years. They have a new name and new uniforms. They want people to buy them as legitimate contenders and take them seriously. They very well could be contenders and might be transforming into a legitimate large-market team, but the thunder of the three signings has been completely stolen by the already-large-market Angels swooping in and getting a bigger star position player and a better starting pitcher than the Marlins landed.

Will this anger the Marlins, causing them to go hard after Prince Fielder -- a player most reported was not on their radar at this time Wednesday? It's hard to tell.

But for now, the Marlins get second billing at these Winter Meetings. The Angels were the top dog.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:10 am
Edited on: December 5, 2011 12:39 am
 

Reyes rounds out an impressive Marlins lineup

Jose Reyes Hanley Ramierez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The winter meetings haven't officially started and the Marlins already seem to have locked up the Hot Stove League title with the signings of Jose Reyes and Heath Bell -- and they could add more.

So what does this mean to the product on the field come April? Well, the rotation may still need some tinkering, but the lineup -- assuming everyone is healthy -- appears stout.

With Reyes, let's look at the new-look Miami Marlins lineup:

Jose Reyes1. Jose Reyes, SS

When healthy, Reyes is the best leadoff hitter in the game, and one of the few real difference-makers in the top spot of the lineup. Reyes has a career .341 OBP and 370 stolen bases -- good for eighth among active players, with only one of the other players ahead of him on the list in his 20s, like the 28-year-old Reyes. Reyes is coming off his first career batting title, hitting .337/.384/.493 in 2011 and also led the league in triples (16) for the fourth time in his career. The knock on Reyes, though, is his ability to stay on the field. After playing in at least 153 games from 2005-2008, he played in just 36 games in 2009, 133 in 2010 and 126 last season. But when healthy, few in the game are as good as he is.

Omar Infante2. Omar Infante, 2B

While Infante didn't return to his All-Star form from a year before in 2011, he's a steady second baseman, if not exactly Dan Uggla. Infante hit .276/.315/.382 and led the league with 17 sacrifices if you're into that kind of thing. He has a career .318 OBP, but had a .353 OBP from 2008-2010 with the Braves. He's a solid No. 2 batter, especially sandwiched between Reyes and Hanley Ramirez.

Hanley Ramirez3. Hanley Ramirez, 3B

Ramirez will have to move to third to make room for Reyes, something he's been reluctant to do -- but it's probably best for him and the Marlins. At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, he's physically more of a third baseman than a shortstop and the team's defense should benefit from the switch. The Marlins had been in the market for a third baseman and all of a sudden they have one with a .306/.380/.506 career split with 134 home runs in six seasons -- and will be just 28 when the season starts. With Reyes and Ramirez, the Marlins now have batting champs from two of the last three seasons in their lineup.

Mike Stanton4. Mike Stanton, RF

Perhaps the most exciting young player in the game, Stanton hit 34 home runs last season in his first full season, while hitting an impressive .262/.356/.537 overall. In an era where there seems to be fewer young power hitters, Stanton has it in spades. He's also proven to be an outstanding defensive outfielder and is under team control for several more years.

Logan Morrison5. Logan Morrison, LF

Morrison, 24 had a disappointing sophomore season, even finding himself sent to Triple-A in August. Even with the trip to the minors, he put up a .247/.330/.468 line with 23 home runs and 72 RBI. That's not ideal, but it's not bad for a 23-year-old in his second season in the majors, especially one that put up a .283/.390/.447 line as a rookie. He was also much better in the first half, hitting .267/.343/.489. The talent is there and he should get better.

Gaby Sanchez6. Gaby Sanchez, 1B

Sanchez was lost in the monster National League rookie class of 2010, but still put together a solid rookie season and pretty much equaled it in his second season, hitting .266/.352/.427 with 19 home runs in 2011. Sanchez is 28, the same age as Reyes and Ramirez, but with much less experience.

Emilio Bonifacio7. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

A switch-hitter, the speedy Bonifacio played all three outfield spots, as well as second, shortstop and third last season for the Marlins, but the team's biggest need now is center field, and he can stick there now that he doesn't need to fill in at any point for Ramirez at short. Bonifacio put up a .296/.360/.393 line last season and stole 40 bases. The team also has former Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, who started 64 games in center last season, but struggled, hitting just .230/.296/.368 and is expected to start next season in Triple-A.

John Buck8. John Buck, C

The oldest player in this lineup, Buck is just 31. While not an offensive superstar, he's a solid catcher and did put up a .316 OBP last season and hit 16 home runs. He also hit 20 homers in 2010 for the Blue Jays.

That's a pretty good lineup, and also a young one -- only Buck and Infante will be 30 or older at the start of next season. That said, the Marlins may not be done. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports Miami is expected to make "an aggressive run" at Albert Pujols. As good as the Marlins' lineup looks now, that could push it into a different stratosphere. Even without Pujols, that thing in center field could get a workout at the Marlins' new park.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 2, 2011 11:36 am
Edited on: December 2, 2011 2:16 pm
 

Padres hire former Mets GM Omar Minaya

Omar MinayaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Padres have hired former Mets general manager Omar Minaya, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets. CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler reports Minaya will serve under general manager Josh Byrnes in a position similar to the one Byrnes held last year, scouting Major League teams for the Padres, while also looking at the team's minor league system and scouting players for the amateur draft. According to the Associated Press, his official title will be a vice president of the team.

Minaya was fired by the Mets after the 2010. He served as the Mets GM from 2005 to 2010 and was the GM of the Expos before going to New York.

It's an odd bit of timing for the Padres, as former closer Heath Bell has left the team to sign with the Marlins, while the man responsible for sending him to San Diego is headed there. In 2006, Minaya traded Bell and Royce Ring to the Padres for Ben Johnson and Jon Adkins, in a move that worked out much better for the Padres.

Minaya interviewed for the Angels' GM job this year.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 11:09 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 12:55 pm
 

Marlins sign Heath Bell

Heath Bell

By Matt Snyder


So you thought all that talk of the Marlins wining and dining players was just for show, huh? Well, the first domino has fallen. The newly-named Miami Marlins have signed All-Star closer Heath Bell to a three-year, $27 million contract, sources have confirmed to CBSSports.com. The deal is pending a physical, which will happen Friday. There is a vesting option for a fourth year.

For good measure, Ozzie Guillen Jr., son of the Marlins new skipper, tweeted that he's celebrating the signing with his father. And now he's slightly backing off ... meaning Ozzie Sr. probably told him he shouldn't have tweeted it out. Fun times.

Bell, 34, has been an All-Star the past three seasons as the Padres closer. He had 43 saves in 48 chances with a 2.44 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 51 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings last season. He has 132 saves over the past three seasons, which is the most in baseball over that time span. The Marlins had an obvious hole at the back-end of their bullpen after Juan Oviedo revealed he'd been using a fake name (Leo Nunez) for years and was placed on the restricted list. There wasn't another ready-made closer left on the roster. And let's be frank, "Nunez" was a pretty lackluster closer anyway.

New-look Marlins
Bell had stated many times he'd prefer to stay in San Diego, but the club seemed pretty lukewarm on signing him to a multi-year deal. And a few weeks ago, Bell said he has a home in Florida. So this was a good fit. It simply didn't seem like the Padres wanted Bell around anymore while the Marlins needed to start making a splash in free agency before their fans started to believe all these tours and reported offers were simply window dressing.

Maybe Jose Reyes is next? Hard to tell just yet, but the Marlins have accomplished at least one offseason goal: They now have a bona fide closer.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: December 1, 2011 8:12 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 9:01 pm
 

Thursday rumors: White Sox, Prado, Kuroda, more

By Matt Snyder

The Hot Stove
Just a few days to what should prove to be a very busy Winter Meetings, so let's hit a bunch of the smaller rumors from Thursday, the first day of December.

• The White Sox are in a situation where they're most certain to be sellers on the trade market in an attempt to rebuild their barren farm system. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports that other teams are so sure the White Sox are selling that they're inquiring about shortstop Alexei Ramirez and young pitcher Chris Sale. But, Knobler adds, the price for either would be "sky high." Talks on a contract extension with starting pitcher John Danks are in a "stalemate" and it's possible he's traded (ESPN Chicago). Remember, earlier this week we passed along the report that the White Sox were trying to deal reliever Matt Thornton and we've heard rumors involving starting pitcher Gavin Floyd and right fielder Carlos Quentin for weeks. Long-time left-handed starting pitcher Mark Buehrle is a free agent and expected to be gone. Jon Heyman reports there are 14 teams after Buehrle, so he may be the most popular player on the free agent market.

• The Rockies are still interested in Martin Prado, Knobler reports, and the Braves like outfielder Seth Smith as a piece coming back -- but the Braves also want Rockies third base prospect Nolan Arenado and, as Knobler said, that's not happening.

• It's looking less likely the Dodgers can retain starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, reports Knobler. Kuroda made $12.5 million last season and the Dodgers won't come close to paying him that much to stick around. The interesting factor here is Kuroda has said he won't pitch for any other team in America. So if he doesn't want to sign for what the Dodgers offer, he may well be headed back to Japan.

Angels infielder Maicer Izturis was discussed in trade talk between the Angels and Rockies before the Chris Iannetta trade was completed -- CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports -- so Izturis is available. The Tigers have been connected with Izturis in rumors this week.

• The Brewers, Cardinals and Giants are all looking at free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez (Jon Heyman).

• The Rangers are hopeful of getting a long-term contract extension done with catcher Mike Napoli (Jon Paul Morosi). If he doesn't sign an extension, Napoli would be a free agent after the 2012 season.

• The Diamondbacks have made a contract offer to first baseman Lyle Overbay (Fox Sports Arizona).

Earlier Thursday we noted that the Marlins were wooing closer Heath Bell, and you can now add the Blue Jays to the mix. They are after his services, reports Ken Rosenthal.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 1:26 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 3:13 pm
 

Heath Bell latest on Marlins' radar



By Matt Snyder


The Miami Marlins have rolled out the red carpet and given visits of their new digs to the likes of Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson. We can now add All-Star closer Heath Bell to the list. Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports that the Marlins have interest in Bell. Jon Heyman reports that Bell has visited Miami and the Marlins seem "very aggressive." Jayson Stark of ESPN.com and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com also reported the club's interest in Bell.

In terms of going after all these free agents, Heyman also added "this is no publicity stunt."

Now, obviously the Marlins can't afford to land all these guys. But getting, say, Reyes, Buehrle and Bell could probably be done with the Marlins expecting to ramp up payroll reportedly close to $100 million as they move into a new stadium with new uniforms and Ozzie Guillen now the manager.

New-look Marlins
Bell, 34, has been an All-Star the past three seasons as the Padres closer. He had 43 saves in 48 chances with a 2.44 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 51 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings last season. He has 132 saves over the past three seasons. The Marlins have an obvious hole at the back-end of their bullpen after Juan Oviedo revealed he'd been using a fake name (Leo Nunez) for years and was placed on the restricted list. There isn't a ready-made closer left on the roster.

Bell has stated many times he'd prefer to stay in San Diego, but the club seems pretty lukewarm on signing him to a multi-year deal. And a few weeks ago, Bell said he has a home in Florida.

So this does appear to be a good fit. Of course, as Miller reported, the Marlins are also exploring other avenues -- including via trade -- to fill the spot. Bell's an option, just not the only option.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Homegrown Team: New York Mets



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule of this feature, click here.

Another day, another entry in our series. For this one, we'll stop over in Queens and meet the Mets. We know about Wright and Reyes, but what else is there? For one, a guy who just tied the postseason home run record. Knowing that the Mets traded him for Jorge Velandia has to be a bit painful for Mets fans (don't feel too bad, though, because the A's and Brewers gave up on Cruz, too). Anyway, let's dive in.

Lineup

1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Nelson Cruz, RF
5. Ike Davis, 1B
6. Mike Carp, LF
7. Angel Pagan, CF
8. Josh Thole, C

Starting Rotation

1. Dillon Gee
2. Jonathon Niese
3. Philip Humber
4. Mike Pelfrey
5. A.J. Burnett

Bullpen

Closer - Heath Bell
Set up - Octavio Dotel, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Lindstrom, Bobby Parnell, Joe Smith, Guillermo Mota
Long - Aaron Heilman

Notable Bench Players

Drew Butera, Josh Satin, Ruben Tejada, Ty Wigginton, Lucas Duda, Fernando Martinez, Carlos Gomez and the imcomparable Wily Mo Pena. Also, Scott Kazmir is on this team. If he never left, would it have been possible that he was an upper-tier starter for years? We'll never know.

What's Good?

I like the bullpen. The bench is good, too. As a whole, one thing that stuck out to me is there aren't any really glaring holes. And assuming everyone is healthy, that's a pretty stout top four to five in the batting order. Reyes setting up for Wright and Cruz would be scary for opposing pitchers.

What's Not?

The starting rotation is a bunch of threes and fours. There's potential to better sure -- like if Burnett gets locked in for stretches -- but if we're looking at just the present, the lack of an ace would hurt as the season progressed, especially in terms of stopping modest losing streaks. The catcher and center field spots could be better as well, but, as I mentioned above, it's not like those are glaring holes. On the whole, while there aren't any real glaring holes, there's nothing that stands out as spectacular other than a healthy Reyes while Wright, Cruz and Bell are very good.

Comparison to real 2011

The real-life Mets were 77-85, and I think this bunch is a bit better than that. It's a team that would put up a winning record and maybe contend for a wild card. It's definitely not great, as the lack of an ace shows, but the weaknesses here are all pretty minor. I'm thinking mid-80s in wins with a ceiling of 90 and floor of high-70s? That sounds about right.

Next: Cincinnati Reds

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Posted on: November 15, 2011 10:28 pm
 

Padres, Heath Bell may be parting ways

By Matt Snyder

Padres All-Star closer Heath Bell has stated time and again he wants to remain with the Padres. He's even said in the past that he was willing to accept arbitration, which would amount to a one-year contract with a likely modest raise. But the more time passes, the more Bell sounds to be losing faith he's going to stick around. From signonsandiego.com:
“I told my guys that if there is any shot for San Diego, hold onto it. But I haven’t really heard anything from the Padres since they changed general managers. Right now, I have no idea what to expect.

“But I think there’s going to be a three-year deal out there from someone. And that’s what I’d like to have. I’d rather stay on the West Coast. But I still have a home in Florida.”
Obviously new general manager Josh Byrnes has plenty on his plate, but it's a bit surprising that he hasn't contacted Bell's agents yet, assuming he wants to retain the closer. The report did state that Byrnes is planning on meeting with Bell's agents by the end of the week. Still, Bell mentioned that if the Red Sox signed him, for example, he could play with Adrian Gonzalez again. And note above that he said he still has a home in Florida. The Marlins are looking to spend lavishly and need a closer.

And, again, Bell just sounds like he's resigned to being forced to look elsewhere -- more from signonsandiego.com:
“I have to weigh all my options,” said Bell. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. But it seems like there are going to be some very good options soon. And after everything that has happened with the Padres, I don’t know what is going on.

“They lost the general manager (Hoyer) and the guy (Jason McLeod) responsible for building the future Padres through the draft.”
I guess you could say he sounds like he's on the fence. One thing seems a near-certainty: Bell is going to get a more lucrative offer elsewhere. Will he take it? We'll find out quite soon.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com