Heath Bell's brief tenure with the Marlins is over, as Miami has dealt the reliever to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three team trade that has also sent outfielder Chris Young from Arizona to Oakland. In addition to Bell, the Diamondbacks have acquired infielder Cliff Pennington from the A's, and the Marlins get infielder Yordy Cabrera from Oakland.
The Marlins signed Bell to a three year, $27 million contract before the 2012 season as part of a spending spree that also included shortstop Jose Reyes and starting pitcher Mark Buerhle. The former Padres closer struggled in Miami, posting a 5.09 ERA and 19 saves, his lowest total since becoming a full-time closer with the Padres in 2009. Late in the season, Bell and Miami manager Ozzie Guillen clashed over radio interviews and Bell's lack of respect for the outspoken manager. Bell will slot into an Arizona bullpen that is very strong, and exercised an option for 2013 on closer JJ Putz, meaning that Bell won't be counted upon too heavily to anchor the Diamondbacks' bullpen.
The trade of Young makes a lot of sense, as the addition of Jason Kubel last winter created four players for three jobs in Arizona. Gerardo Parra took on more of a supersub role in the outfield as both Young and Justin Upton missed time with various injuries, and Parra's production and low cost relative to the other three players made him an attractive option for the Diamondbacks to keep around. Young going to the A's seems like a strange move that will result in someone getting traded, as Oakland already has Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes, and Josh Reddick as starters in their outfield and under team control through 2013 at the least. Seems to me like Billy Beane is going to be shopping either Young or Crisp, probably for infield help after the trade of Pennington and Stephen Drew's impending free agency.
The 22-year old Cabrera is very raw, and was a second round pick in 2010 by the A's. He's struggled so far in his professional career, and will be a work in progress for the Marlins. Pennington, also heading to Arizona in the deal, could be a nontender candidate because of his impending arbitration eligibility this winter. Pennington has a below average bat, but is a defensive wizard at shortstop. With both John McDonald and Willie Bloomquist signed for next season, the Diamondbacks could look to deal one of their three shortstops.
All in all, it's a very…interesting trade. The Marlins were relieved to shed Bell from their roster, and that has to be considered a win from the getgo. The Diamondbacks continue to bolster their bullpen, one of their specialties under Kevin Towers, and by trading Young, they'll quiet the talks of a potential Upton trade. As for the A's, this move seems to signal that Billy Beane has something else in the works.