Three-Time All-Star Heath Bell Retires
In Major League Baseball (MLB) news today, relief pitcher Heath Bell has officially retired. The 37-year-old capped off an 11-year career in the MLB, unfortunately not ending on a high note.
Bell’s career took off during his stay with the San Diego Padres during the 2009-2011 seasons. Acting as a relief pitcher, and mainly a closer, Bell accumulated 132 saves during his three, prime years. In addition to his impressive statistics, the Padres were shifting the closer role from Hall of Fame pitcher Trevor Hoffman; Bell had his hands full with expectations.
When Bell hit free agency the Miami Marlins had offered a three-year deal worth $27 million. That would not be the last time Bell had switched teams. Bell’s ERA would spike from 2.44 to an astonishing 5.09; he only lasted one year in Miami.
The Marlins shipped Bell to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team deal during the 2012 offseason. The deal included the Oakland Athletics as well. Bell would have the opportunity to bounce back following a down year in Miami. That would not be the case. Bell posted a 4.11 ERA with a minimal 15 saves.
During the 2013 offseason, the Tampa Bay Rays had acquired Bell and catcher Ryan Hanigan in a three-team deal with the Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds. The story would be similar as Bell struggled, posting a 7.27 ERA in 13 games with the Rays. The Rays eventually designated him for assignment.
Bell would bounce around the MLB for a bit, landing with teams such as the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles, but would never see light of the big leagues for the respected clubs. Following the 2014 season, the Washington Nationals had signed Bell to a minor-league contract. Bell would allow five runs, four of those earned, and strike out six batters in 5 1/3 innings during Spring Training. The Nationals would then release Bell, thrusting Bell into retirement.
Although Bell had a disastrous end to his career, during his prime in San Diego, he was a respected closer whom was Hall of Fame Trevor Hoffman’s heir.