39-Year-Old Pitcher – Free Agent
2017 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Heath Bell in 2017. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Heath Bell Contract Information:
Released by the Nationals in March of 2015.
Bell has elected to retire, MLB.com's Corey Brock reports.
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Heath Bell Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Heath Bell: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Heath Bell.
Much was made of the Diamondbacks' bullpen philosophy and its failures in 2013, and Bell was a big part of that. Dragged down by a few abysmal months, he posted a very disappointing year, especially given his robust contract, posting a 4.11 ERA and blowing seven saves. Included as part of a three-team trade in December, the Rays will attempt to resurrect Bell's career akin to their previous relief projects (most recently, Fernando Rodney). Lost in the disappointing results was a 9.9 K/9, the highest mark that Bell has posted since his 2010 campaign with the Padres. With the free agent acquisition of Grant Balfour, Bell will likely be assigned a late-inning role next to Joel Peralta for the Rays as part of the bridge to Balfour to start 2014.
Bell broke his streak of three straight 40-save seasons by notching just 19 saves for the Marlins in 27 opportunities. The disappointing numbers came on the heels of an utterly dominant five-year stretch in the San Diego bullpen when Bell registered a 2.53 ERA and 1.12 WHIP while averaging 75.0 innings per season and striking out 9.4 K/9. Bell's strikeout rate rebounded a bit to 8.3 K/9 in 2012 after he saw that number slip below 8.0 K/9 for the first time in 2011. Traded to Arizona in October, Bell is likely to open the season in a setup role to J.J. Putz, and he represents a low-risk, high-reward move for the Diamondbacks who convinced the Marlins' stingy front office to pick up a portion of Bell's bloated salary.
Bell signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Marlins and will look to continue his ninth-inning dominance as the team's new closer. He's notched 40-plus saves in each of the last three seasons and has done so while maintaining a solid 75.7 percent strand rate. He did, however, see a strong decrease in strikeout totals last season, his groundball rate dropped and his K/BB ratio has fallen steadily the last three seasons leading to speculation of a tired arm. Ultimately, it hasn't been enough to drop him down on draft boards just yet. With the help of the dimensions of the Marlins' new park, which is technically bigger than Petco, Bell could remain a top-10 closer given his job security and that he should receive plenty of save opportunities.
Trade rumors surrounded Bell for much of last season, but it didn't matter as he once again collected 40-plus saves with a fantastic ERA and WHIP. One possible chink in his armor is his walk rate, which has been on a steady ascent since 2004. In 2010 it reached 3.60 BB/9IP, but was offset by a career high 11.06 K/9IP mark. With a possible $7 million payday coming in arbitration, it's likely the Padres will finally move him in exchange for young talent. He'll excel in any bullpen role, but his value takes a big hit if he's not closing with his new team.
Bell pitched exactly as well last year as he had in two previous seasons with the Padres, but with Trevor Hoffman in Milwaukee, got 40 extra saves for his trouble. A closer is a luxury on a bad team, so look for Bell to be on another roster by the end of the year. There is a significant risk that he will not close with a new team, so factor that into his value.
For the past few seasons, Bell has been a popular choice as a speculative closer-to-be. He'll take over the closer role with the departure of Trevor Hoffman, but he is coming off a rather pedestrian campaign marred with a couple of cautionary flags. Though he still fanned nearly a batter an inning, his strikeout rate dropped while his walk rate increased. In addition, for the second straight season he allowed significantly more fly balls than the year before. He still has the peripherals to be a good closer, just don't anticipate Bell joining the elite class.
Bell was dominant for much of 2007 and cemented himself as San Diego's top set-up man. In his first full major league season, the 30-year-old posted a 2.02 ERA and 0.961 WHIP along with 102 strikeouts in 93.2 innings. It's still a concern that he hasn't developed a top-notch second pitch to complement his mid-90's fastball. Opposing hitters caught up to Bell in July and August, pushing his season ERA up nearly a full run from July 4 to August 27 before he settled down in September. Bell is an elite middle reliever, especially in pitcher-friendly San Diego. However, the ninth inning won't be Bell's anytime soon with closer Trevor Hoffman planning to stick around for a while.
Bell once again bounced between the Mets and Triple-A as his inability to come up with an effective second pitch to go with his mid-90s fastball doomed him to a another year of riding the Norfolk-New York shuttle. He was dealt to San Diego this offseason where he will try and stick in the bullpen.
Bell bounced between Triple-A and the bigs last year. His major flaw is the lack of an effective changeup. While in the minors, he brought back the split-fingered fastball that he abandoned in 2004. If that can be an effective off-speed pitch, he has a shot at sticking in the Mets bullpen.
Bell rebounded to pitch well at Triple-A Norfolk after struggling at that level in 2003. It has become somewhat of a pattern for him to do poorly when he's first promoted to the next level, then pitching well the following season. Bell's low-90s fastball, slider, and change-up earned him a promotion to the parent club in August 2004. He pitched fairly well for the Mets, but the one negative was the five long balls he gave up in only 24.3 IP. With the team's bullpen in a state of flux, he'll get a shot to make the team out of spring training.
Bell hit a wall in 2003 after dominating Double-A Binghamton in 2002. This was not the first time Bell struggled moving up the ladder as he regressed in 2001 in Double-A following back-to-back tremendous campaigns in 2000 and 2001, where he saved 56 games over that two-year stretch. Bell will start the year back in Triple-A Norfolk and could move up to the Mets if he uses his low-90s fastball, slider, and change-up to dominate Triple-A hitters.