After just a few days of speculated interest, the Marlins have announced they are prepared to close on a contract offer with former Pardres closer Heath Bell. Bell, pending a physical, will sign the deal, which is reportedly worth $27 million over three years. Bell converted on 43 saves of his 48 opportunities last season, and has the most saves, 132, in the majors since 2009.
Bell is the first major acquisition of the newly-rebranded Miami Marlins, but their need for a closer was evident Toward the end of the 2011 season, Leo Nuñez’s long-kept secret of false identity came to light. As it turned out, Juan Carlos Oviedo (Nuñez) took on the identity of a younger friend, Leo Nuñez, in order to garner more money in his baseball contract. Oviedo was placed on the restricted list for the remainder of the season, and is eligible for arbitration this offseason, but the Marlins are not likely to pursue re-signing him.
But their new closer, Heath Bell, has collected 134 saves since his debut with the Mets in 2004. He was an All-Star the last three seasons, and showcases a fastball in the upper 90s. His hard work ethic earned him the Padres’ Pitcher of the Year award in 2009 and 2010. If Bell records 40 saves for the Marlins in any year, he would be just the fifth Marlins closer to do so.