Heath Bell Won't Help Orioles Bullpen Issues

Posted on May 16, 2014 by Ethan Felderstein

Photo Credit: Cleveland.com

In the midst of a closer controversy in Baltimore, the Orioles have signed former All-Star closer Heath Bell, as originally reported by Ken Rosenthal. 

Bell exploded onto the scene in 2009 with the San Diego Padres, where he recorded 42 saves that year. He would become an All-Star in 2009, 2010, and 2011, and would also win the National League Rolaids Relief Man Award in 2009 and 2010. His 2011 All-Star game is probably best remembered as he broke into a full-out sprint from the bullpen and slid into the mound. 

His career took a turn for the worst when he signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Miami Marlins prior to the 2012 season. In 27 save opportunities, he saved 19 of them, good for 70.4%, compared to his 90.4% in his three-year tenure with the Padres. 

Bell's rough run in Miami was also marked with a rift between him and then Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, with Bell once saying, "It’s hard to respect a guy that doesn’t tell you the truth or doesn’t tell you face to face."

His save percentage dipped once again when he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013, converting 15 of 22 opportunities, good for 68.2%. He was traded once again the next offseason, this time to the Tampa Bay Rays, where he appeared in 13 games to the tune of a 7.27 ERA. He was released by the team on May 11. 

Now, Bell lands in Baltimore, where current closer Tommy Hunter has already blown 3 saves and has yet to record a clean inning. 

But, Bell doesn't seem to be someone who can contend to replace Hunter, or even compliment him. As a matter of fact, the two are very similar when it comes down to it. 

Evidenced by FanGraphs.com, Bell and Hunter have very similar looking BABIP over the years, both topping off at around 0.4 and being .25 at it's worst. 

Also, the two have been incredibly inconstant with WHIP, with both of them being way below the league average, and then being way above the league average. 

His ability to even attempt to help the Orioles' bullpen all hinders on if he can make it out of the minor leagues. If he does though, the Orioles should be hesitant to give Bell the ball in the 9th inning. 


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